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Prof. Luis Vidal Ponce Cabrera       

National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico

February 1,  12:10 PM

Thirkield Hall (Physics), room 103


Laser ablation  for  thorn  removal  in  Opuntia  Cactus: 
Solving  a  “Thorny  Problem” 

The Opuntia cactus, a staple consumed in Mexico, dates back to
antiquity and its production and marketing has reached many countries due to its great nutritional, organoleptic, and medicinal properties. Its consumption requires a de-thorning process, where an operator either manually or mechanically de-thorns the cladode’s surface by means of a blade. This process results in product damage, with volume losses up to 30% and a shorter shelf life that prevents storing and marketing the de-thorned product. The National Polytechnic Institute of Mexico, in collaboration with Havana University, has developed a laser technology that de-thorns Opuntia cacti and allows thorn removal by laser ablation. This approach results in a de-thorning process without product damage, thus eliminating losses and increasing shelf life. Different techniques such as Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy, Photoacoustic and Optical Reflectance, were used for on-line monitoring of the ablation process. 



Refreshments will be served at 12:00 pm