Yissum Introduces Novel Way to Increase Shelf Life of Leafy Greens

April 28, 2015: The short shelf life of certain leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, celery, spinach and parsley, affects their marketability and profitability. In some cases, the losses that come from transporting the produce from field to the market can reach 50%, due to natural development of senescence (or biological aging) in the detached leaves.

To prolong the shelf life of leafy greens, Yissum, the Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, introduced a novel solution for delaying biological aging. The method, invented by Dr. Rivka Elbaum, from the Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture at the Hebrew University, utilizes an approved food additive that according to academic publications may have beneficial effects on human health. The technology was presented at Agritech Israel 2015, the 19th International Agricultural Exhibition and Conference held in Tel Aviv, April 28-30, 2015.

The technology works by adding a solution into the plant tissue by dipping cut leaves into the solution and therefore delaying is introduced into the plant tissue by dipping the cut leaves into the solution, and thus delaying senescence. In experiments, the invention was shown to delay biological aging and chlorophyll loss in lettuce leaves as well as in Arabidopsis, a small flowering plant related to cabbage and mustard.

Yaacov Michlin, CEO of Yissum, commented, “The novel method invented by Dr. Elbaum, is a simple, low-cost solution for delaying senescence in leafy greens, thereby increasing their shelf life. The method, which has been tested on lettuce could considerably increase the profitability of leafy greens, which comprise a large fraction of the fresh vegetable market.”

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