A research conducted at the Federal University of Goiás (UFG), in partnership with Louisiana State University, has shown that the fungicide imazalil, one of the most used on vegetable shelves, penetrates into the apple peel in only seven days. According to the results of the study from the UFG, after seven days of application, imazalil penetrates up to 6 millimeters into the apple. UFG's research is seen as 'innovative'.
The fungicide is used in citrus fruits, post-harvest, to inhibit the development of fungi, thus delaying the rotting of the product. According to researcher Igor Pereira, an organic fuji apple was tested, and it was proved that the agrochemical penetrated the fruit, in addition to the bark, in a significant way. "It penetrated a little before half the fruit. And that in seven days, that is, in a short time," said researcher, Igor Pereira to the university's communication department.
According to the thesis advisor, professor of the Institute of Chemistry of the Federal University of Minas Gerais Boniek Gontijo, the specifications contained in the product label claim that the fungicide 'photodegraded' over time, ie after application, its molecule is degraded by light, therefore, there would be no risk of remaining in the fruit trees. However, research has proven that the molecule does not degrade and further penetrates inside the fruit over time. "We even carried out a test of exposure of the fungicide to ultraviolet light, and it did not degrade," he noted.
Professor Boniek Gontijo also draws attention to the innovative approach of the research, which, in addition to proving penetration, monitored the depth of the fungicide's reach into the fruit. "Most techniques and methods are not about spatial distribution," he explains. The study, conducted in partnership with UFG's Laboratory of Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (LaCEM) and with the group of Professor Kermit Murray from State University, was published by the journal Analytical Chemistry .
Agrotoxic fungicide is applied in high concentration, says UFG research
As Professor Boniek explains, generally the fungicide imazalil, with moderate toxicity, is applied in high concentrations. According to Boniek, usually 1,000 micrograms per kilogram of the fruit is applied, which is well above the limit allowed for human health.
Boniek added that after the application, the concentration tends to decrease. "Whether it has penetrated into the fruit, or because it has evaporated, for example," he added. But one way to minimize damage to health is to wash the product with soap and water before storing in a refrigerator.