Case study - Ethylene removal in supermarket storage chambers

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Courtesy of Bioconservacion SA

The project was carried out by Agrisale in LTS-Walmart Chile, who advised, inspected and monitored the results, with the aim of establishing levels of ethylene in a supermarket’s storage chambers, and assessing its impact on fruit and vegetable ripening, and comparing the benefits of implementing ethylene-removal systems in this environment.

The general objectives of the Pilot Plan are to:

  • Work in storage chambers (one dry-environment chamber of 8-12°C and one humid-environment chamber of 2-4°C) with the aim of reducing levels of ethylene within them.
  • Decrease the effects of ripening and the process of deterioration or lack of freshness in fruit and vegetables preserved in these storage chambers.
  • Assess any loss or damage caused by deterioration of the fruit and vegetables attributed to the effect of the ethylene.
  • Evaluate BIOCONSERVACION’s technology for removing ethylene using granulated Bi-On in Ethyclean ETH 1500 machines.

Ethylene is produced naturally by fruit and vegetables and is responsible for regulating the processes associated with ripening and biological ageing. Once it is emitted in the form of gas, it builds up in the air of the storage chambers. It has a self-catalytic effect - that is, the greater the build-up of ethylene, the faster the ripening process and increased levels of ethylene emitted.

Methodology

Two ETH 1500 machines (each suitable for flows of 1500m3) were installed in each of the chambers, each with a capacity of around 3000m3. The machines were programmed to be ON for 2 hours and then OFF for 2 hours.

To perform the test, it was recommended that the fruit and vegetables be grouped according to their sensitivity to ethylene in both the chambers (dry and humid environments).

Dry environment chamber
  • Banana G2
  • Barraganate bananas
  • Express bananas
  • Aubergine
  • Avocado
  • Tomato
Humid environment chamber
  • Canning peaches
  • Bulk plums
  • Lettuce on trays 2 units Dole
  • Bulk cucumber
  • Green apple

Measurements

Measurements were taken every 14 days and the parameters measured were as follows: 

  • Assessment of parameters relating to dehydration, decay and over-ripening.
  • Measurement of levels of ethylene in chambers with and without ethylene control.
  • Evaluation of the Percentage decrease produced among the different species.
  • Advantages and benefits of using ETH 1500 machines and Bi-On granules to remove Ethylene.
  • Financial and quality assessment between the different treatments.

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