CBD (cannbidiol) oil has many claims made for it — and now lengthening the shelf life of fresh fruit could feasibly be added to the list.
In a study at the University of South Florida, which is to be published in the March 2021 issue of the journal Postharvest Biology and Technology, researchers examined the potential of CBD oil as a postharvest treatment used by consumers at home to reduce microbial growth and extend the shelf life of strawberries.
In the study the CBD oil was applied to fresh fruit after harvest, then followed by storage at 1 °C for 8 days or 10 °C for 8 days.
“Strawberries were evaluated for visual quality and microbial load before and during storage,” the paper’s abstract states. The results show that “CBD oil has the potential to be used by consumers at home as an effective antimicrobial treatment and to extend strawberry shelf life,” the researchers added.
As well as improving the physical appearance of the fruit compared with strawberries not treated, CBD oil caused a significant reduction in microbial load carried by the berries after eight days. CBD-treated strawberries showed less mold and yeast production, too.
While the study focused on strawberries, the findings indicate that CBD oil has promising potential as an antimicrobial treatment to fresh produce more generally, the authors concluded.
But while it’s an interesting finding, the practical applications are as yet limited. As the researchers note, “there are still many uncertainties surrounding the use of CBD as a food additive and the science and benefits behind using CBD in food formulations.” CBD is also by no means an inert treatment, having potentially medicinal effects. It's also an expensive way to lengthen the shelf life of fruit.
Nevertheless, it’s an interesting effect to note and no doubt the potential preservative effects of CBD oil will be researched in greater depth by the food industry in future.