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Health effects of morpholine based coating for fruits and vegetables

Authors: Rupak Kumar

Int J Med Res Health Sci.32-38 | pdf PDF Full Text

Food production and preservation is an important social issue of increasing concern from ancient time onwards.
The practice of fruit/vegetable coating was accepted long before their associated chemistries were understood, and
are still practiced till date and deserves allocation of more research efforts to investigate the health effects by
consumption of coated fruits and vegetables. Morpholine, O(CH2CH2)2NH is a common solvent and emulsifier used
in the preparation of wax coatings for fruits and vegetables. Morpholine, by itself, in the doses that are present in
fruits and vegetables probably does not constitute a health risk. However, it undergoes nitrosation during the
digestion process if there are excess nitrites, formed mainly from naturally occurring nitrate in the diet to form Nnitrosomorpholine
(NMOR), a genotoxic carcinogen. Although there is no direct human data on nitrosation rate of
morpholine to NMOR, but according to Health Canada Health Hazard Assessment (HHA) 2008 report on
Morpholine in wax coatings of apples, safe dose of morpholine in humans is 4.3ng/body weight/day. Sufficient
NMOR can be produced in the human gut after ingestion of morpholine-treated fruits/vegetables to pose a health
risk raising the need for its effective removal from fruits and vegetables and educating consumers about this risk.
Keywords: Morpholine, Fruits/Vegetables Coating, Emulsifier, NMOR, Carcinogen

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