RESEARCH conducted by the University of the Philippines - Mindanao (UPMin) showed that ethylene can be used as an alternative over calcium carbide to ripen mangoes.
In an ongoing funded study by University of Queensland conducted by University of the Philippines Mindanao (UPMin), research associate Angelyn Lacap said by using ethylene, farmers can lessen their exposure to the harmful effects of using the conventional calcium carbide or “carburo” in ripening mangoes.
“Calcium carbide releases acetylene gas in the presence of moisture and activates fruit ripening like ethylene does. The use of calcium carbide could pose risk as it contains arsenic and phosphorous that are potentially carcinogenic,” the study states.
Results of the study show the use of ethylene has the same ripening effect compared to calcium carbide’s.
Lacap said ethylene sources can also be found in kakawate leaves and in saba, a banana variety.
Though the use of ethylene as a source for ripening mangoes is not new in the country, farmers still resort in carburo as it conforms to the traditional process of making mangoes ripe.
“The traditional method of ripening is putting it in baskets and uses the powdered form of calcium carbide. So we need an alternative which is similar to the application of calcium carbide, which is in a form of powder,” Lacap said.
In the study, ethylene is encapsulated in a sugar molecule to form into powder.
Presently, series of trials are being done in the country in order to standardize the application of the ethylene-based alternative ripening agent. Once the study is fully completed, more details will be made known publicly especially to the country’s mango industry.