Fractional Surface Coating Modifies Gas Diffusion and Ripening in Bananas

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824

We hypothesized that the blocking of O2 influx and CO2 efflux in banana (Musa acuminata) by sealing nearly 100% of the pores over a fraction of the surface would generate a modified internal atmosphere in a manner similar to fruit coatings that cover 100% of the banana surface but only block a fraction of the pores. This hypothesis was based on the observation made by previous workers that the flesh of mature green bananas has insignificant resistance to O2 diffusion relative to the resistance imposed by the skin of the fruit. We modified the O2 diffusion pathway in bananas by covering, beginning at one end, ¼, ½, ¾, and ⅞ of the fruit surface with paraffin, which sealed essentially 100% of the surface where it was applied. Large end-to-end O2 and CO2 gradients developed within coated fruit, relative to the uncoated control, suggesting that the diffusive resistance in the pulp was not insignificant. Since the large gradients of O2 generated caused uneven ripening, using fractional coatings may help analyze gas exchange properties, but it is not suitable for commercially controlling ripening of bananas.

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