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27 May, 2016 00:00 00 AM
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Pesticide remediation

Peeling is the easy, quick and authentic method to remove pesticide toxicity in fruiting vegetables.
Pesticide remediation

Safe salad, anyone? It’s easy _ just remove the skins off tomatoes and cucumbers.
Fruits and vegetables are important components of human diet because they provide essential nutrients, vitamins and dietary fibre, which are all required for  proper body functions. Unfortunately, fruit trees and vegetable plants are often infested by insects and fungal diseases during their growth. In order to control losses of crops and to maintain their high quality, pesticides are being used widely. The food crops treated with pesticides invariably contain unpredictable amounts of chemicals. Therefore, solutions for decontamination of agricultural products must be searched for, especially as consumers worry about the harmful effects of chemicals on human health. Food safety is a growing concern worldwide and, the food contamination issue induced by pesticide residues is becoming more and more important.
Fresh salad is a very common item in most cuisines. In Bangladesh, tomatoes and cucumbers are generally used as salad, as well as for cooking purposes. Tomato and cucumber are the fruiting vegetables which we can eat without cooking, so there is more chance to consume pesticide residues from them then other vegetables. Many processing methods used in households and at food plants have been reported to remove the pesticide residue. Most food processing techniques and methods usually reduce residual amounts of pesticides. Fruit processing, like washing with water or soaking in different solutions and peeling, is reported to be highly effective in reducing the level of pesticide residue.
Several experiments were recently carried out to investigate the remediation of pesticide level in fruits and vegetables at Department of Pesticide Science, Institute of Plant Protection under Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, a leading research organisation in agriculture and food sector in China. In an experiment, washing tomato samples with tap water for five minutes reduced pesticide level around 16 percent. After peeling (following washing process), the amount of residue was reduced by 99 percent. While the raw tomatoes contained about 6.19 mg/kg of difenoconazole, a widely used pesticide, after washing the pesticide level reduced to 5.19 mg/kg. But after peeling, the pesticide level came down to 0.28 mg/kg, which means it lost 99 percent of difenoconazole residue.
Washing has been found to reduce pesticides that are loosely attached to the surface, while peeling removes even those that have penetrated the skins of fruits and vegetables. Peeling contributes the most to the reduction of pesticide levels, for a great proportion of pesticides is retained on skins of fruiting vegetables, like tomatoes. Similar results were also found for cucumber and apple in another study. So, we can strongly recommend peeling of the skin after washing fruits and vegetables like tomato, cucumber and apple, to make them comparatively safer for us.

Complied by: Yongquan Zheng, Xing-gang Liu & Abdul Kaium, Department of Pesticide Science, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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