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Pineapple extract, “bromelain,” is a rich source of proteases having therapeutic benefits. The processed fruit does not show proteolytic activity probably due to harsh conditions of sterilization. Storage of fresh fruit at4C without preservatives retained 75 ± 5% proteolytic activity after 180 days (with or without eight cycles of freeze–thawing in between) and was devoid of microbial contamination. Peroxidase, acid phosphatase and amylase activities were also retained by 75 ± 5%. Immunomodulatory activity of the fresh and the stored fruit was comparable. For industrial scale, γ irradiation of 1–2 kGray is proposed to ensure sterility that does not affect enzyme activities. Under these conditions, no signs of freeze burning are observed. The ultraviolet-visible spectra of the fresh and stored fruit extracts are also indistinguishable. The process is commercially viable and amply improves the quality of processed pineapple in terms of active “bromelain.” PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

Bromelain, the fruit extract of pineapple, is a rich source of beneficial enzymes primarily because of its medicinal properties. Because the fruit grows in abundance in a short time, it requires preservation to prevent wastage. This work reports the absence of enzymatic activities in preserved pineapples commercially available in the global market because of harsh conditions of sterilization. Alternately, exposing to low dose of irradiation followed by preservation under frozen condition at −4C retains enzymatic and immunomodulatory activities of the fruit. Being free from adverse effects of freeze burning, it offers a cost-effective way of proper preservation of pineapples retaining its medicinal properties. Promotion of pineapple in dietary consumption can prove to be beneficial to the society and businesses at large.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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