Effectiveness of Guava (Psidium guajava) Leaves Extract in Prolonging Shelf-Life of Ripe Strawberries

Background: Artificial preservatives have been associated with many health hazards, including: hyperactivity in children, respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis, heart tissue weakening, obesity, as some contain fatty acids, especially in processed foods and gastrointestinal disorders. Food-borne illnesses caused by the absence of steps to protect food have continuously been a threat to human health and have contributed to the use of preservatives.Sulfite has been shown to have the following side effects: headaches, allergies, palpitations and cancer, and is a common preservative in fruits. Another downside to artificial preservation is that it makes it costly to grow and accumulate a lot of time. Therefore, a natural preservative is required.

Objectives: This research was carried out to establish a natural preservative from the extract of guava leaves to help increase the shelf life of strawberries.

Methods: By grinding the dry guava leaves into 100 g of powder and adding 600 ml of boiling water, crude extract was obtained. To facilitate extraction, the mixture was allowed to stand for 1 hr. To assess its inhibition against fungi, the extract was then filtered and used. In order to obtain 5 different concentrations used to assess their efficacy in raising the shelf life of the strawberries, the extract was also serially diluted.

Results: The plates with the highest concentration of extract of guava leaves had the lowest number of colonies of microbials, whereas the lowest concentration had the highest number of colonies of microbials. By far, the control samples had a higher number of microbial colonies than all the various extract concentrations.

Conclusion: Crude guava leaf extracts demonstrated fungal inhibition and improved the shelf life of strawberries. To obtain a distilled preservative from the extract, further studies need to be performed.

Author (s) Details

Dr. L. G. Njue
Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Technology, University of Nairobi, Kenya.

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