Diet: Egg coating keeps fruits and vegetables fresh

Diet: Egg coating keeps fruits and vegetables fresh

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Natural coating from eggs has many advantages

Eggs can be used as the basis for an inexpensive coating to protect fruits and vegetables. Coated foods resist rotting over a longer period of time compared to standard coatings such as wax, but without some of the disadvantages involved.

A recent research led by Rice University in collaboration with the Brown School of Engineering found that a natural coating of eggs protects food from rotting. The results of the investigation were published in the English-language journal "Advanced Materials".

Coating from eggs has several advantages

During the research work, a micrometer-thick coating was developed in a laboratory, which can keep products such as fruit and vegetables fresh longer than comparable coatings. In addition, such an egg coating would have significant environmental benefits.

Food shortages could be reduced

When the egg coating was applied by spraying or dipping, it showed the remarkable ability to resist the rotting of the coated food over a long period of time. The coating is based on eggs that would never actually reach the market. Reducing food waste would help promote sustainable living. In this way, foods could be made more durable without genetic modification, inedible coatings or chemical additives.

What were the advantages of the coating?

The multifunctional coating is not only edible, it also delays dehydration, offers antimicrobial protection and is largely impervious to both water vapor to delay dehydration and gases to prevent premature maturation. The coating is natural and easy to wash off with water, the researchers report. If someone is sensitive to the coating or has an egg allergy, the coating can be easily removed.

What exactly does the coating consist of?

Egg whites and egg yolks make up almost 70 percent of the coating. Most of the rest consists of so-called nanoscale cellulose, which is obtained from wood. It serves as a water barrier and prevents the products from shrinking. It also contains a small amount of curcumin due to its antimicrobial properties and a splash of glycerin, which is said to increase elasticity.

Fruits stay fresh much longer when tested

Laboratory tests on coated strawberries, avocados, bananas and other fruits showed that the fruits kept their freshness much longer than uncoated products. Compression tests also showed that coated fruits were significantly firmer than uncoated ones. This demonstrated the ability of the coating to hold water in the products and slow down the ripening process.

Coating as resistant as plastic film

An analysis of the coating also showed that it is extremely flexible and can withstand cracks. Tests of the tensile properties of a film produced by the coating showed that it is just as resistant as other products, including plastic films for packaging products. In further tests, the coating also proved to be non-toxic and a thicker coating was also easy to wash off.

Research on a vegan version is already underway

The researchers continue to refine the composition of the coating and are considering further raw materials. "We chose egg proteins because a lot of eggs are wasted, but that doesn't mean we can't use others," said researcher Muhammad Rahman from Rice University in a press release. The team is now testing new proteins that could be extracted from plants instead of animal products to produce similarly effective coatings. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Seohui Jung, Yufei Cui, Morgan Barnes, Chinmay Satam, Shenxiang Zhang et al .: Multifunctional Bio ‐ Nanocomposite Coatings for Perishable Fruits, in Advanced Materials (published May 4, 2020), Advanced Materials
  • Egg-based coating preserves fresh produce, Rice University (published June 4, 2020), Rice University

Video: How to Keep Produce Fresh Longer. PRODUCE STORAGE TIPS (May 2022).


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