Submitted to: Review Article
Publication Type: Literature Review
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2004
Publication Date: 7/14/2005
Citation: Plotto, A., Baker, B. 2005. Review of wax-based coatings for fruits and vegetables. IFOAM Technical Paper. 1-25. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The application of coatings on fruits was reviewed for the purpose of evaluating the potential use for organically produced commodities. Ingredients used in fruit coating formulations were reviewed including beeswax, carnauba, and candelilla waxes, and shellac and wood rosin resins. Fatty acids, morpholine and ammonia, necessary components to make waxes into emulsions for ease of application, were also reviewed. The chemical characteristics, specific uses, sources and manufacturing processes, effect on the environment during manufacturing or disposal, health effects, social and economical considerations were described for candelilla wax, shellac, wood rosin, fatty acids, ammonia, and morpholine. A review of the research on specific effects of coatings made with the described ingredients is discussed. Mainly, resin-based coatings tend to impart a higher gloss to fruit than wax-based coatings but reduce gas exchange, possibly inducing internal anaerobiosis and off flavor. Rice bran, sugar cane, Japan and Chinese Rhus waxes, as well as waxes extracted from oils of seeds of sunflower, safflower, canola, and corn were mentioned as possible alternative sources of plant waxes to be used for organic production. There is no published data on application of these waxes in fruit coatings currently available. Montan wax, paraffin and microcrystalline waxes were mentioned as possible uses in non-organic coatings. A table of all possible ingredients that may be used in fruit coatings is given, with the CFR title, and the approval by European, American and Japan organic standards.