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Indian Institute of Natural Resins and Gums
(Formerly Indian Lac Research Institute)
Namkum, Ranchi - 834 010

Estd : September 20, 1924

हिंदी रूपांतर


Dr. K.K. Sharma


Phone : 0651-2260117

Fax : 0651-2260202

Email : kewalkks@gmail.com


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From IINRG News letter

Volume 20(3)  - Jul.- Sept., 2016


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  Protective edible coating : Potential of Natural Resins and Gums applications

India is one of the largest producer, consumer and exporter of spices, fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are highly perishable as they contain 80-90% water by weight. Major losses in quality and quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables occur between harvest and consumption. Similarily, post-harvest losses of flavor, decrease in oleo-resin content, loss of colour, shriveling etc. are common problems faced by the spice growers as well as traders resulting in to huge economic losses and poor product shelf life.

Edible coatings are an environmentally friendly technology that is applied to the product surface in addition to or as a replacement for natural protective waxy coatings; these can give the same effect as modified atmosphere storage. Major advantage of using edible films and coatings is that they can be consumed along with food; have high potential to carry active ingredients such as anti-browning agents, colorants, flavors, nutrients, spices and antimicrobial compounds that can enhance sensory characteristics and extend product shelf life and also reduce the risk of pathogen growth on food surface.

Even fresh-cut fruits are becoming popular ready-to-eat convenience food, by keeping them fresh, flavorful and safe for longer periods of time through the use of invisible, colorless, odorless, tasteless coatings. Ready-to-eat fruits and vegetables now account for about 10 per cent of all produce sales, with sales exceeding $10 billion annually. The use of edible films is likely to expand exponentially in the future as health-conscious consumers look for more foods that require minimal preparation.

Because they will be consumed, the material used for the preparation of edible films and coatings should be generally regarded as safe and must conform to the regulations that apply to the food product concerned. To maintain edibility, all film-forming components, as well as any functional additives in the film-forming materials, should be food-grade and nontoxic. Natural resins and gums are well known for their application in food sector due to their film forming properties and safety and thus, have high potential in edible coating industry. The use of different edible coatings as carriers of functional ingredients like antimicrobials, texture enhancers and nutraceuticals improves quality and functionality of fresh-cut fruits. When active ingredients are added to edible coatings, mechanical, sensory and even functional properties can be dramatically affected.

Nowadays, nanotechnologies are being used to enhance the nutritional aspects of food by means of nano-scale additives and nano-sized delivery systems for bioactive compounds. A new generation of edible coatings is under development, which aims to incorporate and/or control release of active compounds using nanoencapsulation and multilayered systems. The development of new technologies to improve the delivery properties of edible coatings is a major issue for future research. At the moment, most studies on food applications have been conducted at a laboratory scale. Studies on this subject are rather limited and more information is required in order to develop new coating applications. However, further research focused on a commercial scale needs to be done so that more realistic information can be generated to commercialize edible coated fresh fruits and vegetables.



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