yesterday at the market I noticed a number of workers, least bothered by the pungent smell that fills the area, are busy putting small packets in hundreds of crates, two in each, containing fresh green mangoes.
“This is ‘carpet.’ By the time the fruit will be transported to different markets in the country, it will have ripened and will fetch a good price . About 300 to 400 trucks carrying around 8,000 tons of mangoes arrive every day at the Mandi these days. Talking about the large-scale use of calcium carbide as a fruit ripening agent decades ago onions were used for the same purpose. In case of bananas, however, kilns were the norm. People turned to calcium carbide because the method was cost-efficient, easier and gave excellent results. Today, fruit matured with the help of calcium carbide are preferred as the fruit evenly ripens in this way and is neither too soft nor too hard. If fruit is left on trees, there are risks that it will get damaged due to weather conditions and subsequently cause losses to farmers besides affecting business.
The chemical compound – in the form of small blackish and white lumps – is wrapped in paper packets and placed inside a crate of about 27 mangoes. It is then closed and opened after 24 hours when the fruit is ripe. the chemical doesn’t cause any harm to the quality of fruit, but instead enhances its color and taste. About one kilogram of calcium carbide is enough to ripen 15 to 16 crates of mangoes.”
There is not only a difference of taste, but also of size. The mangoes do not properly ripen; some get too soft and some remain raw from inside, though their color may change.” People must wash all types of fruit before consumption, or else it will burn their skin and will cause other health problems. In developed countries
ripening chambers were set up at processing plants, where fruit is treated with controlled purified gases, usually artificial ethylene.Once dissolved in water, the carbide produces acetylene gas....
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