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As we welcome the mango season in Nigeria, the excitement is often ruined by concerns about the widespread practice of chemically ripening mangoes. Read on to see a detailed guide on how to identify them and understand their potential health risks.

Chemically ripened mangoes are often treated with artificial preservatives, including calcium carbide, to hasten the ripening process.

Calcium carbide is a chemical compound with the formula CaC2. The acetylene gas it releases speeds up the ripening process, making the mangoes market-ready in a shorter period.

Here are 5 ways to identify these artificially ripened fruits:


Naturally ripened mangoes change colour uniformly. However, chemically ripened mangoes often have a mixture of yellow and green colours, where the green, appearing in patches, is distinguishable from the yellow. This is because the chemical cannot penetrate the fruit evenly, resulting in uneven ripening.


Naturally ripened mangoes have a sweet, fruity aroma. In contrast, chemically ripened mangoes may give off a chemical-like or strong artificial fragrance. This is due to the chemicals used in the ripening


Texture: Naturally ripened mangoes have a firm but yielding texture. On the other hand, chemically ripened mangoes are usually softer and mushier compared to naturally ripened mangoes. The chemicals break down the fruit's cell walls faster than natural ripening would, leading to a mushy texture.


 These mangoes are often smaller in size and most of them are seen dripping juice. The chemicals used for ripening can cause the fruit to swell and become juicier than it naturally would.

Bucket Test:

This is a simple test you can do at home.

Drop the mangoes into a bucket of water. If the mangoes float, they are chemically ripened. If they sink, they are naturally ripened. This is because the chemicals used for ripening can cause the fruit to become less dense than water.

The use of chemicals in the ripening process poses significant health risks. Exposure to acetylene gas, released during the ripening process with calcium carbide, can result in skin irritation, respiratory issues, and gastrointestinal discomfort if ingested.

In severe cases, consumption of chemically ripened mangoes can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, extreme weakness, and headaches.

Consumers must be vigilant about the risks of chemically ripened mangoes by learning how to identify them and understanding their effects.


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