Ackee has anti-ageing properties

September 16, 2016

A University of West Indies (UWI) postgraduate student who discovered anti-ageing properties in ackee was awarded Best Oral Presentation when he presented his thesis on the preservation of the fruit at the All-African Horticultural Congress on the continent between August 7 and 12.

Academics from around the continent of Africa descended upon the south-western city of Ibadan in Nigeria to intertwine the various sectors of horticulture in Africa. Among them was Rastafarian Machel Emanuel, a UWI postgraduate student from the tiny Lesser Antilles island of Dominica.

In 2010, as a part of a collaborative effort, Emanuel discovered anti-ageing properties such as Omega 7 in ackee. Omega 7 is found only in one other fruit in Australia - the Macadamia nut.

intelligent package

After his discovery in Mexico, Emanuel furthered his study to focusing on the preservation of the fruit. Through the graduate studies and research programme at the UWI, he presented his doctoral dissertation on Biochemical and Physiological Modification of the Ackee Fruit During Ripening and Storage.

"The aspect I focused on was using modified atmosphere packaging, which simply is an intelligent package that allows gas exchange through the package," Emanuel said.

"When you have a horticultural commodity like a fruit or a vegetable, it is still living; it is still respiring. So when the fruit uses up all that oxygen in that bag, it will afterwards begin to rot. When one creates a package to match the respiration rate of the fruit, this package is able to increase the shelf life of the product."

Emanuel told THE WEEKEND STAR that the audience had an interesting reaction to his presentation.