Revolutionizing Citrus Preservation: Towards a Healthier, Greener Future

There is nothing quite like the blast of fresh citrusy scent that comes from slicing open a tangy tangerine or plump, ripe grapefruit. From light and tart lemons to sweet and sunshiney oranges, citrus fruits are one of the prominent fruit and vegetable categories worldwide – and for good reason!  But for many years, a danger has been lurking on the surface of these coveted fruits.

Fresh Citrus Harvest

This invisible toxin has been used by industry to prevent post-harvest decay and ensure that citrus stays firm and colorful after picking, sorting, transporting, and being displayed in-store displays and on home countertops. FruitMag™ is an innovative, non-toxic solution developed by ICL Group to help improve the health of the environment and citrus consumers worldwide. Let’s first dive into the citrus market and its challenges.

The Importance of Citrus in our Day-to-Day Lives

Citrus fruits are used in many different ways around the world. From a fresh glass of orange juice with breakfast to a tangerine in a school lunch or a twist of lemon in iced tea, citrus fruits are a favorite of global consumers. Luckily, citrus fruits are also a healthy choice for consumers. 

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Juicy fresh citrus fruits

Citrus fruits are known for being an excellent source of vitamin C. Flavonoids are essential nutrients and are responsible for their bright colors and abundant aroma. Citrus fruits are also a great source of soluble and insoluble fibers, which reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, improve blood sugar levels, and support the digestive system. Citrus fruits are a healthy home run. 

The citrus market is on the move, trending upwards, with growth over the last thirty years of 125%. Both citrus trade and production growth are slower than general fruit and vegetable sector growth, though it is still a leading category.  Citrus fruits are grown in over 140 countries worldwide, though leading producers are China, Brazil, and the United States of America. 

Around one third of citrus fruit produced globally is used for processing. Orange production in 2023/24 is forecasted to rise by 3% to 3.7 million tons. For 2023/24, global orange production is estimated to be up 48.8 million tons, and consumption and exports are both up with the higher production.

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Harvest in a citrus farm

Citrus’ Challenges

To meet global trade demand for citrus, packinghouses in the industry often use a chemical called TPZ for post-harvest treatment of fruit. This helps manage post-harvest loss and post-harvest changes in fruit to extend shelf life. Without these treatments, citrus fruits are vulnerable to various post-harvest diseases like blue mold, green mold, sour rot, etc. These pathogen-borne post-harvest diseases of fruits cause widespread economic loss in the citrus industry. 

TPZ and synthetic fungicides are used in post-harvest storage of fruits to reduce moisture loss and remove pathogens. TPZ is considered a pesticide, and while it coats and protects the fruit to reduce post-harvest loss, it can be toxic to humans and the environment. The industry has been working to replace this chemical for many years. Many non-chemical treatments have been explored to reduce post-harvest disease in fruits caused by pathogens. However, no ideal solution to keep fruit firm without toxic chemicals has been found. 

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healthy fresh citrus fruits

Sustainability Drives Safe Innovation

FruitMag™ represents an innovative solution in the citrus industry. It offers a natural and sustainable method to reduce post-harvest loss across various citrus varieties. As a firming agent that prevents moisture loss, its food-grade formulation of magnesia, sourced from natural minerals, demonstrates a commitment to environmentally friendly practices.

This solution effectively combats pathogens like Penicillium digitatum and Geotrichum candidum, providing a superior alternative to conventional treatments. It ensures fruit preservation without reliance on toxic materials. FruitMag™ underscores a shift towards sustainability in fruit preservation, replacing hazardous substances with a non-toxic, mineral-based approach.

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Citrus Fruits in a Market

This advancement not only enhances the shelf life of citrus fruits but also aligns with the industry’s growing emphasis on safe, sustainable practices. By offering a fungicide-free solution that outperforms traditional methods, FruitMag™ is setting a new standard in post-harvest treatment, marking a significant step forward in achieving a healthier, more sustainable future for food preservation.


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