New company drives technology to preserve fruit freshness

  • By Lichelle Carlos
  • 7 June 2023

University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB)-based inventors founded HS InnoTech, Inc. (HSII) to manufacture products that make fresh fruit last longer. The technology named Fruitect® consists of edible coating formulations that delay the ripening of mangoes and bananas. Unlike petroleum wax coatings, Fruitect® is biodegradable because it is made from agricultural waste such as peels and leaves.

Coating mangoes and bananas with Fruitect® delays the start of ripening to 10 or more days after harvest.Coating mangoes and bananas with Fruitect® delays the start of ripening to 10 or more days after harvest.

Carabao mangoes stored at room temperature (28oC–31oC) turn ripe and sweet five to six days after harvesting, but when mangoes are coated with Fruitect®, the fruits ripen after 10 or more days. At cooler storage temperatures, the Fruitect®-coated fruits ripen after 20 days.

On the other hand, Lakatan bananas stored at room temperature turn ripe and ready to eat six or more days after harvesting, while bananas coated with Fruitect® start to ripen after 20 days.

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) awarded HSII the Grants for Research towards Agricultural Innovative Solutions (GRAINS) in 2022 to start the operation of its pilot plant located in UPLB, Los Baños, Laguna. The grant enabled the fabrication of support structures and test runs to produce Fruitect® up to 300 liters.

Dr. Veronica Sabularse and Dr. Hidelisa Hernandez, inventors of Fruitect®, cite their technology as a solution to two common problems of agriculture: postharvest life extension and agricultural waste utilization. “By preserving the freshness of fruits sold to consumers, the technology promises better earnings and improved livelihood of our local farmers,” they explained.

The new pilot plant will be producing Fruitect® in liquid form, which is ready to apply to whole fresh fruits. Moreover, Fruitect® will also be available as a wettable powder for easier packaging, distribution, and longer shelf life. HSII is now exploring ways on how to cut production costs.

SEARCA Director Glenn Gregorio shared the impact of Fruitect®’s technology. “This nature-based coating technology significantly contributes to reducing food wastage and preserving fruit exports.”

“We applaud the inventors who bring their technologies and innovation to the field and transform the agricultural industry,” he continued.

The development of Fruitect® was initially funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) to apply nanotechnology in creating new materials for commercialization.

HSII reported that it is now ready to sell its Fruitect® formulation for Carabao mangoes. Groceries, fruit processors, retailers, and consumers will soon have a greener way of keeping produce fresh longer. Fruitect® for Lakatan banana will also be for sale soon.

For more information and inquiries, visit Fruitect®’s Facebook page or email .

HSII manufacturing facility for Fruitect®.HSII manufacturing facility for Fruitect®.

Fruitect® is available in ready-to-use (left) and wettable powder (right).Fruitect® is available in ready-to-use (left) and wettable powder (right).