The University of Florida is one of Florida Agriculture’s best partners. They have been instrumental in helping with the serious citrus greening issue and many other agriculture initiatives. The news of late is they have come to the rescue of avocados. According to a news release about a recent UF study, a new liquid treatment may keep a Florida avocado hybrid fresh longer, a finding that could expand the avocado’s marketability.
The study looked at typical agents used to speed the ripening process of fruit. The study used ethylene as well as liquid and gaseous forms of 1-methylcycloprene on Booth 7 avocados, a combination of West Indian and Guatemalan varieties. Ethylene is what is primarily used to speed the ripening process. It’s most used in bananas and tomatoes. The other agent, methylcycloprene, is what is used to slow the process.
In this study, ethylene was not effective. It did not affect the speed of ripening at all. But something did happen with methylcycloprene. It kept the fruit fresh longer.
So what does that mean for consumers?
When produce like Florida avocados remains fresh longer, it provides the farmers, sellers and consumers more time for consumption. What’s important though is to ensure the processes used won’t affect the taste or other features of the produce. In the UF tests, people tested the treated avocados for taste, texture, and smell. There were no adverse effects from the process.
Florida’s avocado is very important to the agriculture industry and the state’s economy. In 2013, the crop production was $23.5 million. Much of the crop, 85 percent, is sold out of state and supplying many areas of the country with their supply.
What’s your take on using these kinds of processes to prolong the shelf life of produce? Are you for or against it?