Agri Kultuur January / January 2018 - Page 59

they spoil easily and have quite a short shelf life,” explains Dr Belay, who took up the challenge to find ways to extend the shelf life of pomegranate arils.  Thanks to her research, guidelines are now available on the best type of packaging material to use when sending pomegranate arils overseas and retailing under active modified atmosphere packaging conditions, and the premium concentration of oxygen and carbon dioxide at which it should be kept. This method entails more than just vacuum packaging, but also a constant altering of the AgriKultuur |AgriCulture air composition in which the fruit are kept. She found that the optimal gas composition to keep pomegranate arils at during active modified atmosphere storage is 6 to 7% oxygen and 7 to 8% carbon dioxide. “By using this method, the shelf life of arils can be extended from seven to ten days,” she says. Further information • For statistics about the South African pomegranate industry, visit www. sapomegranate.co.za 59