Living With Shiny Apples

Kerria lacca

Kerria lacca Photo: Jeffrey W. Lotz

American consumers demonstrate a preference for shiny apples. Fresh apples will shine if polished due to the natural wax coating on the outside of the apple. The wax coating prevents moisture loss and dehydration. Apples for market are washed and jostled during packing.  This process inadvertently removes wax along with surface contaminants. Wax loss can leave an apple prone to dehydration in storage. What can an apple packer do?

Many apples are treated with carnauba wax produced by Brazilian palm trees. A thin coating of carnauba wax  protects against dehydration without detracting from the taste of the apple.  Unlike natural apple waxes, carnauba wax loses its gloss. What is an apple polisher to do? One solution is carnauba wax mixed with 34% shellac, a wax produced by insects. The carnauba wax maintains the moisture; shellac maintains a shiny appearance.   Shellac helps deliver to market the shiny apples that consumers want.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal, Food. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Living With Shiny Apples

  1. Pingback: Living With Shiny Apples | Living With Insects Blog

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