Papain has several industrial uses, the important one being in the brewing industry. It is used as a “meat tenderizer” and in textile and leather “sanforization” processes and drugs.
The method of extraction of papain from papaya fruits is simple. First, the latex should be tapped from immature papaya fruits.
– We select 75 to 90 days old fruits and on the selected fruit, give incisions (cut) with a razor blade or stainless steel knife. The cuts should be given from the stalk to the tip of the fruit.
– The depth of the cut should not be more than 0.3 cm. Four such cuts are given spaced equally on the fruit surface.
– Tap the latex early in the morning and complete the tapping before 10.00 a.m.
– Repeat the tapping four times on the same fruit at an interval of three days.
– The cut should be given on the fruit surface in places not covered by previous cuts.
– The latex collected from all the trees in a day should be pooled, shade dried in an aluminum pan or tray, and passed through a 50 mesh sieve to remove all foreign matter.
In large plantations, vacuum driers can
be adopted with advantage, and the papain produced by artificial heating will have better color and high quality.
– Add potassium meta-bi-sulfite (KMS) at 0.5 % for better color and keeping quality.
– The latex should be dried very rapidly at temperatures of 500°C to 550°C.
– Stop drying when the dried product comes off as flakes having a porous texture.
– Powder the dried papain using wooden mallets or in electrically operated granulators and sieve the powder through 10 mesh sieve.
– Pack the powder in polythene bags in convenient quantities, seal them, and then put the sealed bags in a tin container and seal it after evacuating air. Exposure to air deteriorates the quality of papain and vacuum sealing is therefore necessary.
For large-scale manufacture of papain, a vacuum sealing machine and a granulator will be useful. The green papaya fruits after extraction of papain can be used for pectin manufacture and “tooty – fruity” or they can be allowed to ripen and made into other products.
The CO 2 and CO 5 varieties of papaya released by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore are ideal for papain production. Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, supplies pure seeds of these varieties.
The yield of crude papain is as follows:
CO 2: 600 kg/ha
CO 5: 800 Kg/ha.
Seed Production Technology
Germination improvement: Soak seeds in 100 ppm GA3 for 16 hours or in 2% fresh leaf extract of arappu or 1% pungam leaf extract or pellet the seeds with arappu leaf powder.
The optimum depth of sowing: Sow seeds at 1 cm depth for better germination and seedling growth.
Seed extraction: Fruit size or weight has no association with seed quality except that the seed content is more in large fruits and less in small fruits. The seeds from different fruit weights or size classes did not differ in their quality. Hence, all ripened fruits can be used for seed extraction.
Grading: BSS 6 wire mesh sieve.
Storage: Dry seeds to 8-10% moisture and treat with halogen mixture containing CaOCl2, CaCo3, and arappu leaf powder (at 5:4:1 ratio) @ 3g/kg and pack in a cloth bag to maintain viability for up to 5 months.
Invigoration of old seeds
Stored seeds can be invigorated by soaking them in a dilute solution of disodium phosphate (10-4 M) adopting a 1:8 seed-to-solution ratio for 4 hours followed by drying back to original moisture content.
In summary, papain is a enzyme that is extracted from papaya fruit and has several industrial uses, including in the brewing industry as a meat tenderizer, in the textile and leather industry for the “sanforization” process, and in the production of drugs.
The process for extracting papain from papaya involves making incisions in the fruit and collecting the latex that is produced, which is then dried and powdered before being packed in airtight containers.
The CO2 and CO5 varieties of papaya are particularly good for producing papain, and the yield of crude papain from these varieties is 600 kg/ha and 800 kg/ha, respectively. The process for producing seeds from papaya involves extracting seeds from ripe fruit, grading the seeds using a wire mesh sieve, and storing the seeds in a dry, treated state in cloth bags to maintain viability.
Old seeds can also be invigorated by soaking them in a solution of disodium phosphate before drying back to their original moisture content.
(This research was carried out directly at the Tamil Nadu University of Agriculture in India).