Fresh As the Day It Was Harvested – Luscious Fruit Thanks to Cyclodextrins
May 06, 2009
Can apples remain crisp, mangoes juicy and kiwis firm – even after months in storage or weeks in transit? They certainly can. One small molecule is all it takes to temporarily suppress ethyl-ene, a messenger molecule in plants that promotes the ripening and decay processes. WACKER manufactures the cyclodextrins – composed of glucose units – used to package this volatile substance and then release it gradually as needed, in exactly the right dose.
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So that apples stay crisp and fresh over the winter, glucose-based cyclodextrins from WACKER package the ethylene blocker, 1-MCP, in an inner cavity and release it as needed. In this way, ethylene, which triggers ripening and decay, can be suppressed for a period of time.
Cyclodextrins are natural degradation products of starch, and are produced by WACKER using biotechnological means, e.g. from corn.
Cyclodextrins are composed of glucose units grouped in the shape of a truncated ice-cream cone. A guest molecule can enter the space inside this cone, which provides protection from light, heat or oxygen. In the presence of water, the guest is released again, chemically unchanged.