Is this the end of browning avocados?

Could new technology be the answer to an age-old avocado problem? Photo / Getty
Could new technology be the answer to an age-old avocado problem? Photo / Getty

The world's obsession with avocado has gone even further, with the creation of an elaborate machine that prevents the fruit from going brown.

Hailed by its designers as "natural technology" that could change the face of the avocado industry, the monstrous machine was created by Australian company Naturo.

With 5 million tonnes of avocados produced globally each year, Naturo director and agricultural engineer Jeff Hastings highlighted the growing demand for the fruit and, with it, the increased disappointment in the quality of the product.

"It is difficult for people to select, buy and enjoy the perfect avocado because more often than not the fruit has already deteriorated or started its browning process.

"Additionally, the relatively high cost of avocados, combined with the fruit's short shelf life makes it a challenge to incorporate the fruit into a daily diet, especially in countries which have no access to fresh avocados."

READ MORE: • Supermarket outsmarts customer over avocado gripe

But Hastings says Naturo's technology "changes all that."

How does it work?

According to the machine's designers, the humble avo has a "complex system of enzymes which are activated when the fruit is cut."

In avocados the key enzyme is Polyphenol Oxidase or PPO, which reacts with other elements to cause browning.

The challenge became figuring out how to stop this enzyme reacting. After four years of research the boffins discovered that PPO is responsive to pressure fluctuations caused by steam. Based on this discovery, they developed a commercial-scale machine which they claim effectively - and naturally - halts the browning process.

According to the creators, avocado slices will last up to 10 days in the fridge without browning after being processed by their machine. If frozen, the product can last up to a year.

Dubbed the "Avocado Time Machine", the contraption can reportedly process 500kg of cut avocados per hour.

While it won't quite fit on the kitchen bench, the makers say the machine could extend the life of your avos.
While it won't quite fit on the kitchen bench, the makers say the machine could extend the life of your avos.

Preserved naturally

Frank Schreiber, also a Naturo company director, notes while there is a range of avocado products currently on the market, "nearly all of them contain additives such as antioxidants, acids and preservatives which not only alter the taste of the fruit but do very little to stop the browning once the packaging is opened."

The directors anticipate the development could have big implications for the avocado industry, by allowing farmers to use all harvested fruit, meaning less food wastage, and provide better export market possibilities.

An Australian company is said to be the first to use the technology and is expected to start making avocado products processed by the machine later this year.

Until this machine-treated fruit hits our shores, we'll just have to make do with food wrap and lemon juice to stop our avos changing colour.

-nzherald.co.nz

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