060073: Micro-Encapsulation of Volatile Compounds into ß-cyclodextrins

Postharvest losses due to spoilage of fresh fruit during shipping, storage, and marketing are largely caused by several fungal species. Current preventative methods for addressing this problem are either ineffective or expensive. Therefore, advanced antifungal systems are required to ensure the quality of fresh produce for consumers, who often purchase the products several days after harvest. More recently, the use of naturally occurring plant volatiles with known antifungal properties has been explored as a means to reduce post harvest losses caused by fungi. These compounds are attractive because they are less costly, natural, and can be used on organically grown fruit. One drawback associated with using these compounds is their volatility, which causes them to dissipate rapidly, thereby reducing their effectiveness. Therefore, technologies are needed to improve the effectiveness these compounds, which could lead to reduced postharvest losses and extended shelf-life and marketability of fresh fruit.


This system provides antifungal materials and methods of preparation to prolong the shelf-life of fresh fruit by preventing fungal rot. Naturally occurring volatile plant compounds with known antifungal properties are micro-encapsulated into cyclodextrins to control their dissipation rate and improve their antifungal activity. The time controlled release of these antifungal plant volatiles significantly increases their effectiveness when they are applied to fresh fruit during shipping and storage. The micro-encapsulated plant volatiles can be incorporated into biodegradable and non-biodegradable films, lids, and containers that are used for packaging fresh fruit.


  • Extended marketability/shelf-life for fresh produce: This system effectively controls fungal species that would otherwise cause spoilage and reduce shelf-life.
  • Usage of these compounds does not compromise marketability features: The use of naturally occurring fungicides allows organic farmers to utilize a chemical treatment without the loss of the organic label for their produce.
  • Reduces cost associated with preventing postharvest losses due to fungal rot: Natural fungicides provide a lower cost alternative to synthetic chemicals, which are expensive to produce.
  • Versatile application options: The invention provides a method for producing a completely green packaging system, including a delivery system for slow release of a natural fungicide incorporated into biodegradable and nonbiodegradable packaging materials.


This invention is useful for improving the effectiveness of naturally occurring hexanol, acetaldehyde, and other plant volatiles as antifungal agents for preventing postharvest losses of fresh fruit. The technology is useful to producers and marketers of fresh fruit for extending the shelf-life and marketability of their produce.

IP Protection Status

US 2007/0207981 A1 (filed Mar 6, 2007)
Patent Information:

For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University - Test