NUEVA ECIJA:  EXPERIMENT ON CONTROLLED ATMOSPHERE FOR MANGOES

SCIENCE CITY OF MUNOZ, NUEVA ECIJA, APRIL 17, 2006
 (MALAYA) An official of the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) described Monday as encouraging the result of a stationary commercial trial on the storage of mangoes intended for shipment to distant markets.

Dr. Luis Rey Velasco, CLSU vice president, was with a team that witnessed the research that adopted the controlled atmosphere (CA) technology, entailing the storage of fresh mangoes under certain conditions to delay their ripening and prolong their shelf life, enabling them to reach far markets. Velasco said with CA, the storage life of a fruit can be extended to four weeks, making possible sea shipment to distant markets such as the Middle East, North America and Europe.

Velasco said Dr. Elda B. Esguerra of the UP Los Baņos Postharvest Horticulture Training and Research Center (UPLB-PHTRC) explained that the method involves storing the fruit under low oxygen and high carbon dioxide in combination with low temperature.

"CA slows down fruit metabolism and also reduces ethylene (the ripening hormone) production, an action that leads to senescence (ageing) and eventual deterioration," he said.

CLSU was tapped for the project funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The UPLB-PHTRC has developed the optimum CA condition for the Carabao mango tested in the experiment.

Aside from CLSU, the project also involved the DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), ULPB, Dismong Star Agro-products, Inc. (DSAPI, operating at the Food Terminal, Inc. in Taguig, Metro Manila), Maersk Sealand, Philippines (a commercial shipping company, and a mango contractor-cum-supplier.

In the research, some five tons of Carabao mango from Pangasinan were stored last Feb. 18 in a van stationed at DSAPI at the FTI complex.

The van was opened 28 days later in the presence of officials of the agencies involved in the project, among them DOST Secretary Estrella F. Alabastro, PCARRD executive director Patricio S. Faylon, UPLB chancellor Dr. Teotimo Aganon, Dr. Esguerra, Rubi dela Dingco of DSAPI, Rewie Lisbona and Borhan Mustaffa or Maersk Sealand, and Rene Florencio, chairman of the National Mango Action Team and Dr.Velasco.

"After 28 days of storage under CA condition, mango fruits were generally at 30 percent to 60 percent yellow stage and since they are not yet ripe, sufficient time will still be allowed for distribution of fruits when they reach the export market," reported Dr. Esguerra, who is one of the three project leaders (the others are Engr. Francis Cuaresma, of CLSU and Dr. Oscar Opiņa of UPLB).

The mangoes were in excellent condition and there was no off-flavor or off-odor when taste test was done in some fruits. "The onset of decay was adequately controlled with the heat treatment employed prior to storage. The mangoes that were brought to the UPLB-P HTRC in Los Baņos for evaluation simulating conditions in the supermarket ripened normally within two to three days and were still in good condition even up to the fourth day of holding at 20 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius," Dr. Esguerra reported.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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