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Introduction

Fruits are one of the best natural food usually consumed raw. Now a days fruits
are deliberately being contaminated by chemicals causing serious health hazard.
Among the pre-treatments, which are mostly followed for fruits intended for better
consumer acceptance and facilitating better marketing is artificial fruit ripening. Artificial
ripening is done to achieve faster ripening characteristics. But the taste of the fruits that
undergo artificial ripening has an unsatisfying taste unlike those that have undergo
natural ripening. Bananas hanging on a tree or sitting in the produce section of the
grocery store start out green, plenty hard and none too tasty. Over time, of course, they
become softer and sweeter. The cause of fruit ripening is a natural form of a chemical
synthesized to make PVC (polyvinyl chloride) piping and plastic bagsnamely, a
gaseous plant hormone called ethylene. CaC2 (the cheapest chemical that can be used
for artificial ripeness) is a compound of calcium and carbon; one of the most important
carbides used in technology. Chemically pure calcium carbide is colorless; industrial
calcium carbide varies in color from light brown to black. Through the use of calcium
carbide, which now has been banned because of its harmful effects to human health,
we conducted an experiment that will show the effectiveness of artificial ripening on
fruits (using a banana).

Objectives:

1. To know the effects of calcium carbide to the appearance of the banana in 3


days.
2. To observe the differences in the ripeness of the banana in different grams of
calcium carbide.
3. To compare the characteristics occur in each banana when:
a. In a container with calcium carbide, tightly closed.
b. Exposed to air

Materials

Calcium carbide
2 bunches of banana(saba)
5 containers
Plastic bag (XL)
Newspaper
Triple beam balance

Procedure
1. Weigh 10g, 20g, 30g, 40g and 50g of calcium carbide on a paper placed on the
triple beam balance.

10g of calcium carbide

20g of calcium carbide

40g of calcium carbide

30g of calcium carbide

50g of calcium carbide

2. Fold the newspaper with the weighed amount and placed it inside the plastic
along with the assigned banana- which was distributed accordingly; divided into 5
sets with 5 bananas each. Note: the control, containing five bananas, must not
be exposed on calcium carbide but instead being placed in a plastic bag, tightly
closed.

10 g

20g

30g

40g

50g

Control

3. Record your observation for 3 days. Note: do not open the tied plastic bag.
4. In its 4th day, removed the banana from the container, allowing them to be expose
to the air. Record your observation.

10g

20g

30g

40g

50g

Control

Results and Discussion


A. With Calcium carbide
Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

10g

3 bananas

2
bananas

All Bananas

3
bananas

2 bananas

20g

3 bananas

2 bananas

2 bananas

3
bananas

3
bananas

2 bananas

2 bananas

3 bananas

3 bananas

2
bananas

3
bananas

2 bananas

2 bananas

3 bananas

2 bananas

3
bananas

2
bananas

3 bananas

1 banana

4 bananas

2 bananas

3
bananas

1
banana

4 bananas

30g

40g

50g

Contro
l

All bananas

All bananas

All bananas

B. Exposure to air

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

10g

3 bananas

2 bananas

1 banana

4 bananas

3 bananas

2 bananas

3
bananas

2
bananas

1 banana

4 bananas

3
bananas

2
bananas

2
bananas

3
bananas

2
bananas

3
bananas

2 bananas

3 bananas

1 banana

4 bananas

2 bananas

3 bananas

20g

All bananas

30g

40g

All bananas

50g

All bananas

1
banana

3
bananas

Contro
l

All bananas

All bananas

All bananas

1
banana

Question and Answer


1. What is calcium carbide?
With the development of fruit trade the fruits are sent to distant
places, requiring several days in ordinary or refrigerated transportation
and only firm and mature fruits are least damaged during marketing. The
fruits are ripened at the destination markets before retailing and hence
artificial ripening has become essential. The most commonly used
chemical for artificial ripening is Calcium Carbide (CaC 2) and is popularly
known as Masala, through banned under PFA rules, 1955 and also under
Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales)
Regulations, 2011 made thereunder. Calcium carbide is colorless when

pure, but greyish-white to black in color otherwise, with garlic like odor.
When it reacts in water, it produces acetylene gas which is an analogue to
ethylene and quickens the ripening process. It contains traces of arsenic
and phosphorus hydride. Acetylene is not nearly as effective for ripening
as is ethylene and acetylene is not a natural hormone as ethylene. A
strong reactive chemical, Calcium carbide has carcinogenic properties and
is used in gas welding.
2. How does calcium carbide work for fruit ripening?
Fruits ripened with Calcium Carbide are overly soft, are inferior in
taste and flavor. They also have a shorter shelf life. The fruit ripened with
calcium carbide may develop uniform attractive surface color, but the
tissue inside would not be ripe or may remain green or raw. When calcium
carbide is used in very raw fruit, the amount of the chemical needed to
ripen the fruit has to be increased. This results in the fruit becoming even
more tasteless, unhealthy and possibly toxic.
3. How does calcium carbide affect human health?
Calcium Carbide is a dangerous and corrosive chemical. Carbide
ripened fruits on consumption cause several harmful effects to human
health. As discussed earlier, CaC2 has cancer causing properties and
contains traces of arsenic and phosphorus hydride. Its early symptoms of
poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea with or without blood, burning
sensation of chest and abdomen, thirst, weakness, difficulty in swallowing,
irritation or burning in the eyes and skin, permanent eye damage, ulcers
on the skin, sore throat, cough and shortness of breath. High exposure
may cause a build- up of fluids in the lungs. Consumption of fruits ripened
with Calcium Carbide causes stomach upset because the alkaline
substance is an irritant that erodes the mucosal tissue in the stomach and
disrupts intestinal functions. Examples of fruits and vegetables where
artificial ripening by use of calcium carbide is generally practiced in case
of mango, banana, papaya and sometimes for tomatoes.