Preserving fruits has been a common practice for centuries, allowing people to enjoy the taste and nutritional benefits of fresh produce all year round. One key factor in fruit preservation is the use of enzymes, which play a crucial role in maintaining the quality and extending the shelf life of these perishable goods. Among these enzymes, invertase has emerged as an essential player in preserving fruits.
Invertase, also known as beta-fructofuranosidase, is a invertase enzyme type of enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of sucrose into glucose and fructose. It is naturally present in various plants and microorganisms but can also be produced through biotechnological processes. This enzyme plays a vital role not only in fruit ripening but also in preserving their freshness.
During fruit ripening, invertase levels increase significantly. This rise triggers several physiological changes within the fruit, including softening and sweetening due to sugar accumulation. The breakdown of sucrose by invertase leads to higher concentrations of glucose and fructose – simple sugars that contribute to both flavor development and sweetness perception.
However, it is not just during ripening that invertase proves beneficial for preserving fruits; it also plays a significant role post-harvest. After being picked from trees or plants, fruits continue undergoing metabolic processes such as respiration and ethylene production. These processes accelerate their deterioration by promoting softening, color changes, loss of nutrients, and increased susceptibility to microbial spoilage.
To counteract these negative effects on post-harvest quality retention, researchers have explored different strategies involving enzymatic treatments with invertase. By applying this enzyme externally or enhancing its endogenous activity within fruits themselves using genetic modification techniques (GMOs), scientists have successfully extended their shelf life while maintaining desirable characteristics like firmness and flavor.
One way invertase aids preservation efforts is through the hydrolysis of sucrose, which reduces its concentration in fruits. This decrease in sucrose levels inhibits microbial growth and delays spoilage. Additionally, invertase promotes the accumulation of glucose and fructose, which act as natural preservatives due to their antimicrobial properties.