Utilization of Centong Cactus (Opuntia Cochenillifera) As Natural Preservative In Fruits


Fruits have excellent nutritional benefits to the body, but fruits during the delivery and storage process take time before reaching the consumer, quite a lot of fruits have a sufficiently short storage capacity that causes the fruit to rot quickly, if the fruit is in harvest is too young or too ripe, it will be in vain because it will be rejected by consumers. The process of decomposition of the fruit is the process of changing the nature of food or fruits from the still fresh, so changed its properties chemically, physically or organoleptically from the fruit so that the rejection of the fruit by consumers.

Agricultural products, especially fruits after harvesting, continue to process physiological so-called as tissue that is still alive. The existence of physiological activity causes agricultural products to continue to undergo unstoppable changes, can only be slowed to some extent. The final stages of fruit products on agriculture are timber and decay. Factors that can be inhibited in vegetable materials such as fruits are: respiration, ethylene production, transpiration and morphological / anatomical factors, other factors that cause fruit damage are too exposed to a lot of sunlight and excessive temperature, pathological damage and physical damage, look at these factors then it is necessary steps to preserve the fruit to keep freshness until the time in consumption.

Preservation of fruits is very often done by the wider community. However, preservation by using natural ingredients to avoid the effects of preservative chemicals, is still very rarely done by the wider community. The large number of harmful preservatives to health circulating in the market raises concerns for people to use it. The impacts caused by these dangerous preservatives are very high risk to public health. Hazardous chemicals such as Ca-Benzoate, Sulfur Dioxide (SO2), K-Nitrite, Na-metasulfate, and Sorbat Acid are some chemicals that can be used as preservatives. These chemicals are allowed to circulate in the market but less safe if used as a preservative of fruits. Use in a high composition can cause adverse effects on human health, even lately a lot of fruit found preserved with formalin whose use is prohibited in food. Some of these preservatives can cause difficulty breathing, headache, anemia, kidney inflammation, and vomiting.
Cactus plant
Cactus is a wild plant that often grows on the edge of the forest or fields, these plants have thorns, so often not used by the community and considered as ordinary wild plants. Actually cactus plants are very rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are well known especially for their antioxidant abilities so-called “natural biological response modifiers”. green in size like oval plates, have large nutritional levels. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, are found in that section, plus beta-carotene (the first form of vitamins A) and vitamin C.
Cactus boiling
When the cactus is boiled, mucilago is thick and sticky sap like glue, mucilago is a protector against the sun. This substance prevents the evaporation of water from the surface of the cactus. Mucilago is composed of sugar and carbohydrates that serve as anti-oxidants and anti-bacterial so that the mucilago content can be tried to be used as an anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial in increasing food storage capacity.
In the study used three types of fruits namely starfruit,snakefruit and oranges. In this fruit is treated by soaking the three pieces into the cactus extract for approximately two hours, which aims to extract the cactus can seep and stick to the skin of the fruit, in this experiment the fruit labeled A (left) is not soaked in cactus extract ( as control), while the fruit labeled B (right), soak in cactus extract.
The fruit before soaked
After storage for 2 days seen the difference in the fruit given cactus extract and which are not soaked with cactus extract. In the fruit without soaking cactus extract more quickly rot and overgrown with fungi, while the soaked relatively more resistant rot, on day 6 after soaking showed more significant results again, where the fruit samples are not given extra fruit cactus showed more fungus and fruit rot more evenly on the fruit while on the fruit given cactus extract with storage period for 6 days, rotten relatively evenly.
he second day after soaked
On the eighth day the fruit that is not preserved with cactus extract is seen as 90% percent rotten condition, which when compared with the fruits preserved with cactus leaf extract is damaged 25% for starfruit and 15% for salak. This suggests that muchilago in cactus leaves may inhibit fruit decay by approximately 50%.
The eight day after soaked
As for the orange difference is still less significant because the age of citrus fruit is relatively longer when compared with the two fruits, but on the eighth day on orange A starts in tumbuhi mushrooms, while the orange B still remain without mushroom, while the condition of all the fruit without being soaked has rotten.

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