– Ethylene (C2H4) is a naturally occurring gas that plays a crucial role in the ripening process of climacteric fruits.
– At high concentrations, it can lead to premature aging, rotting, and wilting, thus reducing the shelf life of fresh produce.
– Fruits are either ethylene producers (e.g., apples, bananas) or absorbers (e.g., broccoli, cauliflower). Ethylene producers should not be stored with absorbers to prevent accelerated ripening.
Cold Storage Categories:
– Storage for fresh horticulture products without pre-cooling.
– Multi-commodity storage for fresh products requiring pre-cooling.
– Controlled Atmosphere storage (CA).
Negative Effects of Ethylene:
– It causes problems like scald in apples, decay in bananas, sprouting in potatoes, and more. Even amounts as small as 0.1 ppm can significantly affect plant quality.
– Traditional practices, like lowering temperature and humidity and using gases such as nitrogen and sulfur, may extend shelf life but can also alter the natural properties of the produce. These methods are harmful as they introduce toxic gases and might be harmful to human health.
Ethylene Control Benefits:
– It extends the life cycle of the fruit/vegetable after plucking.
– It helps warehouse owners preserve freshness and reduce spoilage.
– It enables the availability of non-seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Applications of Ethylene Control:
– Controlled Atmosphere Storage (CA) focuses on reducing respiration rates and delaying ethylene-triggered changes.
– Ripening Rooms: Where fruits and vegetables are allowed to ripen, precautions need to be taken to ensure ethylene doesn’t affect other stored products.
– Shipping of Produce: Ethylene levels need to be controlled during transport as even small amounts can speed up decay.
Ethylene plays a vital role in the ripening and aging processes of fruits and vegetables. High concentrations of ethylene in storage areas can have detrimental effects on fresh produce, leading to monetary losses for industries. Controlling and removing ethylene in the cold chain ensures fruits and vegetables retain their natural properties and extends their shelf life.
Ex vs Ethylene
Ethylene is explosive… source: https://gestis-database.dguv.de/data?name=012710
So Ex compliance is an issue, and Ex owner’s engineer in place is essential.
So there is no difference whether you design / operate… a refinery or a cold storage room. Ex design chapter, HAC, Ex personnel competency and similar (E.g lifetimetracking) shall be in place.
Keep up good work.