HU introduces novel way to extend leafy greens’ shelf life

The invention is scheduled to be presented at the 19th Agritech Israel exhibition currently being held in Tel Aviv.

April 29, 2015 03:00
1 minute read.
Nefesh B Nefesh

food shooping 7588. (photo credit: NEFESH B'NEFESH)


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There’s nothing quite as disappointing as discovering the head of lettuce you put in your fridge just a couple days ago is now brown and shriveled.

To counter the problem, Hebrew University’s Yissum technology transfer company has introduced a novel way to extend the shelf life of lettuce, cabbage, celery, spinach and parsley.

The invention is scheduled to be presented at the 19th Agritech Israel exhibition currently being held in Tel Aviv.

The short shelf life of such leafy greens strongly influences their marketability and profitability. In some cases, post-harvest losses from field to market in leafy vegetables can reach 50 percent due to the natural deterioration of detached leaves and other factors.

The method was invented by Dr. Rivka Elbaum of HU’s Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences in Rehovot.

The faculty’s Robert Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture uses an approved food additive that – according to academic publications – may have beneficial effects on human health.

Dipping the cut leaves into the solution, said Elbaum, delays the deterioration of the vegetables.

In proof-of-concept experiments, the invention was shown to delay senescence and chlorophyll loss in lettuce leaves as well as in Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant related to cabbage and mustard.

Yissum CEO Yaacov Michlin said that “the novel method invented by Dr. Elbaum is a simple, low-cost solution for delaying senescence in leafy greens, thereby increasing their shelf life. The method, which has been tested on lettuce, could considerably increase the profitability of leafy greens, which comprise a large fraction of the fresh vegetable market.”

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