Consuming fresh, uncooked or partially cooked vegetables & fruits in form of salads etc. can lead to outbreaks of food borne infections.
Safety in consumption of leafy green vegetables is a growing concern, particularly in developing countries. These are likely to get contaminated during cultivation, transport and storage.
Potassium permanganate (KMnO4) solution is an effective disinfectant, and many researchers used it against a wide range of microorganisms. Studies have shown potassium permanganate solution used in disinfecting lettuce found a significant decrease in the bacterial load on these green leaves.
How to Use
Potassium permanganate (KMnO4) also known as Condy’s crystals is easily available with chemist or general store, in crystalline form.
A dilute potassium permanganate solution appears slightly purplish pink.
- Dissolve approx. 7 grams of pure purple-bronze potassium permanganate crystals in about 100 grams of water to prepare a solution. Store it.
- Much more dilute solutions are used, however, when washing fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Soak vegetables in potassium permanganate for about five minutes and then rinse. This is highly effective in washing away germs, bacteria and pesticides.
Benefits of Using Potassium Permanganate
Potassium permanganate solutions effectively remove a variety of chemical pesticide residues from fruits and vegetables, making them safer to consume.
As one example, AGRIS, the International Information System for the Agricultural Sciences and Technology, an information management program started by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, reported in 2010 that Leafy Chinese-Kale treated with a 0.001 percent potassium permanganate solution effectively removed pesticide residues. Washing vegetables in potassium permanganate removed more pesticide residue than washing in water alone.
Potassium permanganate not only removes pesticide residues but can also reduce the number of pests on the plants themselves. For example, potassium permanganate effectively kills the bacterium that causes cholera, as well as other harmful organisms such as Fasciola, a parasitic flatworm, according to the April 2003 issue of the “Journal of the Egyptian Society of Parasitology.”
In areas of the world with unsanitary human waste disposal systems and questionable water purification systems, washing fruits and vegetables with a solution of potassium permanganate helps control disease outbreak while at the same time providing local residents access to healthy foods.
- You should use only very dilute solutions of potassium permanganate, about 0.001 percent when washing fruits and vegetables.
- Concentrated solutions of about 1 percent can harm your gastrointestinal system and could be fatal, causing your throat to burn, as well as nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain, according to its Material Safety Data Sheet.
- Higher concentrations of potassium permanganate, about 2 percent to 3 percent can cause anemia and swelling of the throat leading to suffocation, and 4 percent to 5 percent can cause kidney damage.
- Ingestion of large volumes of dilute solutions may cause vomiting and diarrhea, but the amount left on fresh fruits and vegetables after washing would not be large enough to induce these effects.