Annals of Tropical Medicine and Public Health
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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 150-156

Physico-chemical properties and toxic effect of fruit-ripening agent calcium carbide


Department of Pharmacy, Guru Ram Das (PG) Institute of Management and Technology, Dehradun, India

Correspondence Address:
Mohammad Asif
Department of Pharmacy, GRD (PG) Institute of Management and Technology, 214, Rajpur Road, Dehradun-248 901
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1755-6783.98602

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Ripening is the final stage of the maturation process, when the fruit changes color, softens and develops the flavor, texture and aroma that constitute optimum eating quality. This study was conducted to discuss the use of unsatisfactory calcium carbide to ripen fruits for domestic markets as well as their toxic effects on human health. The commonly used ripening agents are calcium carbide, acetylene, ethylene, propylene, ethrel (2-chloroethyl phosphonic acid), glycol, ethanol and some other agents. The calcium carbide is one of the most commonly used ripening agent for fruits, while other calcium salts like calcium ammonium nitrate, calcium chloride and calcium sulfate are used to delay fruit ripening agents for local fruit industries. The use of calcium carbide is being discouraged worldwide, due to associated health hazards. Calcium carbide treatment of food is extremely hazardous because it contains traces of arsenic and phosphorous, and once dissolved in water, it produces acetylene gas. Arsenic, phosphorous and acetylene gas may affect the different body organs and causes various health problems like headache, dizziness, mood disturbances, sleepiness, mental confusion, memory loss, cerebral edema, seizures and prolonged hypoxia.


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