Avocado industry takes bruising with squeezers
RESEARCHERS at UQ Gatton are finding out who is to blame for bruised avocados in the supermarket.
Using shock watches and impact recording devices UQ PhD student Muhammad Sohail Mazhar tracked the impact on the fruit as they were taken to the stores.
He found they were arriving in store with very few bruises.
He is now looking to establish if potential customers squeezing or poking avocados to test their freshness are responsible for the bruising.
"A bruise in an avocado fruit can continue to grow and intensify for up to 96 hours," Mr Mazhar said.
"This was established by using an MRI machine at The University of Queensland's Centre for Advanced Imaging to non-destructively examine the bruised flesh over time within intact avocados."
"The next stage of my doctorate will look carefully at shoppers' and consumers' contributions to bruising the avocado fruit in the retail store and at home and also into methods to reduce its occurring," he said.
Professor Daryl Joyce, from UQ's School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, believes that decision-aid tools and education initiatives to help shoppers choose fruit in the store may be the solution.
"Precise firmness-testing machines for avocados already exist in laboratories," Prof Joyce said.
"If we could adapt such devices for use in supermarkets then it would mean that shoppers could learn how many days away the piece of fruit is from being ready to eat without them having to squeeze it."
"A cost-effective firmness testing device combined with educating store staff, shoppers and consumers could well be the answer to bruise-free avocados," he said.
Prof Joyce said the amount of bruising found in avocados was turning customers off them and damaging the industry.
It's easy being green
- The avocado originated in the state of Puebla in southern Mexico.
- It was introduced into Australia in the late 19th century.