Effect of Processing and Packaging Materials on the Storability and Microorganisms Associated with Garcinia kola
In developing countries, processing of agricultural produce is one of the major problems. During harvesting period 85% of the produce goes to waste due to glut and short shelf life, but the major goal is to guarantee stable supply throughout the year (Emebiri LC & Nwufo MI. 1990, Ihejirika et al. 2015). In Nigeria, the high demand of bitter kola seeds in the market makes improvement of processing a priority and also for industrial usage. Locally, the ripe fruits that fall from the tree are collected and spread in the open air until the pericarp and the pulpy mesocarp softens. Immediately, the fruits are threshed to release the seeds then the sticky substance that covers the seed is thoroughly washed (Ihejirika et al. 2015).
According to (Leo O 2009), processing of bitter kola for the international market demands only fresh or dried bitter kola, even though most of the importers prefer them dry with the colour not affect. Most of the raw materials from tree crops spoil during storage due to bad processing which leads to wastage of money and time (Kayode J and Ojoo BM 2009). The extracts from seed and dry powdered seeds have been processed into tablets, cream and tooth paste (Onunkwo et al. 2004). Some farmers in the rural areas process bitter kola faster by cutting it without softening which results in damage of seeds and disease manifestation. Soaked pulps improves seed quality but produces
micro-organisms that makes it valuable in the market (Ihejirika et al. 2015).
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The different investigations on processing of Garcinia kola shows that awareness and support of male and female farmers to participate in learning simple processing techniques will reduce damaging seeds add value and improve quality of the processed seeds. Farmer/marketers of bitter kola can adopt use of good packaging materials, storage and other management, which will improve the shelf life of Garcinia kola seeds and ensure moisture retention and long preservation of seeds. Pods processed in open air and those soaked in water give the best quality while seeds packaged with dry plantain and cocoyam leaves retain moisture and produces seeds of high quality, better shelf life and low associated microorganisms (Ihejirika et al. 2015).