This study was executed to investigate the potential of agar-agar, a nontoxic and non-degradable gelling agent, as a promising coating agent to improve and protect banana fruit against fungal postharvest diseases i.e., crown, finger, neck and flower end rots which are caused by fungal isolates of Colletotrichum musae and Fusarium moniliforme. Coated-ba-nana fruit samples with different concentrations of agar-agar suspension particularly at 2.0 g · l−1 exhibited a significant reduction in incidence and severity of postharvest diseases compared to untreated fruit. Banana fruits dipped in agar suspension at 2.0 g · l−1 for 5, 10 and 15 min showed significant reduction in disease incidence and severity. Moreover, application of agar suspension as a coating agent at 2.0 g · l−1 significantly decreased weight loss (%), firmness loss (%), and soluble solid concentration of banana fruit for 15 days at 25 ± 2°C. Scanning electron microscopy observation confirmed that the fruit coated with agar colloid at 2.0 g · l−1 had significantly fewer cracks and showed smoother surfaces than untreated fruit. This explains the quality improvement in agar-coated fruit compared to uncoated fruit. Overall, agar colloid, a safe coating agent, could be used to protect banana fruit against postharvest rot diseases and extend fruit storage life during ripening and storage.
The decolourization of Turquoise Blue HFG by immobilized cells of Lysinibacillus fusiformis B26 was investigated. Cells of L. fusiformis B26 were immobilized by entrapment in agar and calcium alginate matrices and attached in pumice particles. The effects of operational conditions (e.g., agar concentrations, cell concentrations, temperature, and inoculum amount) on microbial decolourization by immobilized cells were investigated. The results revealed that alginate was proven to be the best as exhibiting maximum decolourization (69.62%), followed by agar (55.55%) at 40°C. Pumice particles were the poorest. Optimum conditions for agar matrix were found: concentration was 3%, cell amount was 0.5 g and temperature was 40°C (55.55%). Ca-alginate beads were loaded with 0.5, 1.0 and 2.0 g of wet cell pellets and the highest colour removal activity was observed with 2.0 g of cell pellet at 40°C for alginate beads. Also, 0.5 and 1.0 g of pumice particles that were loaded with 0.25 and 0.5 g of cell pellets respectively were used and the results were found very similar to each other.
In this study, agar-based nanocomposite films containing ultra-porous silica aerogel particles were fabricated by gel casting using an aqueous agar/silica aerogel slurry. The silica aerogel particles did not show significant agglomeration and were homogeneously distributed in the agar matrix. Transmission electron microscopy observations demonstrated that the silica aerogel particles had a mesoporous microstructure and their pores were not incorporated into the agar polymer molecules. The thermal conductivities of the agar and agar/5 wt.% silica aerogel nanocomposite films were 0.36 and 0.20 W·m–1·K–1, respectively. The transmittance of the agar films did not decrease upon the addition of silica aerogel particles into them. This can be attributed to the anti-reflection effect of silica aerogel particles.