Researcher of UPM's Department of Plant Protection of the Faculty of Agriculture, Associate Prof. Dr. Kamaruzaman Sijam and a former PhD student, Dr. Farah Farhanah Haron, found solution to make fruit skins, stronger and durable against fungus attacks.
According to Dr. Kamaruzaman, now the fruits could last for as long as 10 days (room temperature) and 30 days (cold storage), thus enabling the fruits to be marketed and exported easily.
He said the solution was found through the use of Allamanda leave extracts, also known as Bunga Loceng tree.
Of the five varieties of Allamanda trees, including Allamanda cathartica, Allamanda blanchettii, and Allamanda oenotheraefolia, the most durable is Allamanda cathartica variety 'Jamaican Sunset' as its anti-fungus elements are the most active. It is also easy to get and plant.
Dr Kamaruzaman said that Allamanda leaves were dried before they were blended to become powder. The powdered form was then extracted and formulated, turning it into a liquid formula via nanoemulsion.
"It was then dissolved into the water. The fruits were then dipped into the water or sprayed with the formula, making them stronger against fungus attacks," he said. Anti-fungus solution from Allamanda leave extracts could control ringspots not only on papayas but also other fruits such as bananas and mangos.
The application of the solution on the fruit surface as a coating element does not only serve to control Anthracnose disease specifically, but it also helps in maintaining the freshness of the fruits and delaying the ripening process without affecting the sweetness or quality of the fruits.
The product, therefore, could help to increase the nation's export revenue as it is environmental-friendly and free from chemicals, thus posing no danger to the people and the environment.