Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo


Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

Nonorganic apples are usually treated with inexpensive preparations of antioxidant diphenylamine (DPA) or 1-methylocylopropene (1-MCP) before they are put into cold storage for consumption up to 12 months after they are harvested. While untrained taste testers in Pesis’s study believed that the apples treated with 1-MCP tasted better after storage than the organic apples, the organic fruit subjected to the new method alone was considered almost as good as that treated with chemicals.

The study says that variations in the method could be used to extend the shelf life of other organic produce, including strawberries, tomatoes, persimmons, and other varieties of apples.

While less of a reliance on refrigeration should make organic produce easier and cheaper to store, the research team’s report states that “the simplicity, low cost and efficacy of this new apple treatment” also make it suitable for use in developing countries. In the developing world, where refrigeration is less available and power supplies to maintain low temperatures are less reliable, it’s difficult for food producers to get their less expensive produce to richer Western markets. Avoiding chemical treatments also lowers the cost of apple storage for developing-world producers.

“I cannot tell you if the treatment will be cheaper than the use of DPA,” Pesis says, “but I am sure it can be cheaper than use of MCP.”

2 comments. Share your thoughts »

Credit: Scott Liddell

Tagged: Biomedicine, agriculture, refrigeration

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives


Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me