Analysis of Phosphorus as an Impurity from the Use of Calcium Carbide as an Artificial Ripening Agent in Banana (Musa acuminate)

Abstract

In order to achieve early ripening of fruits, chemicals and ripening agents are used by retailers and farmers. Artificial fruit ripening is illegal but also practiced regularly and most of them are banned. These agents or chemicals create health problems. These chemicals exhibit several adverse effects on human health hence precaution or control should be put in place. The aim of this research was to identify the trace elements of calcium carbide present in the banana samples and determine the level of these trace elements present in the banana samples on both Ghanaian and Chinese market as well as ascertain its severity and toxicity content.

Using Vanado-molybdate method, the ash banana samples were boiled with 10mLof 5 g/mL HCl and the solution was then washed into a 100 mL volumetric flask using water, and then filtered. The solution was then neutralized by drop wise addition of 0.88 g/mL ammonia (the volume at this stage was 55 mL) and then a standard solution was prepared. This was done by just adding the HCl to the dilute nitric acid, then 25ml of the Vanado-molybdate reagent was added and diluted to the mark.

The optical density was then measured. Phosphorus was present in all the six samples. There was a significant difference in the amount of phosphorus present in the banana samples from both the Ghanaian market and Chinese Market. From the experiment conducted, if a person is to consume 100g of banana (powdered) from Ghana, he/she will be taking in as much as 2020.66mg of phosphorus, a figure almost three times the highest tolerable amount in humans per day. If this same person is to consume 100g of banana (powdered) from China, he/she will be taking in as much as 2001.66mg of phosphorus, another figure almost three times the highest tolerable amount in humans per day.

Keywords: calcium carbide, ethephon, banana, pesticides, artificial ripening, phosphorus.