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Technology cuts ethylene gas by 99.9%

A field trial conducted in Atlanta GA shows ethylene gas concentrations were reduced by 99.9% in 72 hours by the AiroCide PPT photocatalytic air purifying technology. The test, conducted by Del Monte Fresh Produce Inc at its Atlanta repacking facility, showed a reduction of 43% in 24 hours, and 94% in 48 hours.

Ross McKenney, Del Monte Fresh vice-president of quality assurance, said, “The trial field test showed a dramatic and rapid ethylene reduction, with a fringe benefit of [airborne] microbial reduction.” Based on these results, AiroCide PPT will be standard equipment for Del Monte Fresh avocado storage at all its facilities. The technology is now in place in Del Monte's Atlanta, Chicago IL, and Philadelphia PA locations.

McKenney said he performed extensive research on air sanitation systems before choosing AiroCide PPT to evaluate. The test took place in a banana ripening room filled with ethylene gas. Air samples taken at 24-hour intervals for three days and were sent to the University of North Carolina — Chapel Hill for analysis of both ethylene and airborne microbials.

Ethylene gas, a naturally occurring plant hormone, causes fruits to ripen and decay and vegetables and flowers to wilt. Controlling this gas in postharvest storage allows produce to be held for a much longer time and reduces shrink. Industry studies estimate post harvest loss from 25%-46% at extremely low ethylene concentrations.

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