Controlled Atmosphere Monitoring

Controlled or modified atmospheres can considerably increase the storage life of certain fruit and vegetable cargoes.

Controlled or modified atmospheres can considerably increase the storage life of certain fruit and vegetable cargoes. SST’s OXY-COMM Zirconia Oxygen Sensor was designed to prolong the life of perishable food within refrigerated, controlled and modified atmospheres by accurately measuring the oxygen concentration.

Perishable products such as fruit and vegetables are still metabolising once picked. This means that the Oxygen (O₂) in the atmosphere is being consumed and producing heat, Carbon Dioxide (CO₂), moisture and possibly ethylene gas. The vegetation is ripening and will eventually degrade to an undesirable state.

As a result, shipping and storing perishable food can be a challenge to ensure the product’s integrity whilst in transit. There are 4 extremely important factors to consider when transporting perishable foods – quality, temperature, relative humidity and gas concentration; Quality – Fruit and vegetables need to be of good initial quality; Temperature – Each 10⁰C reduction halves the rate of metabolism; Relative Humidity – Just 2% loss of water is extremely detrimental to quality; Controlled Atmosphere – Reduction of oxygen concentration from 21% to 2% results in approximately a 30% reduction in metabolism.

Where properly used, the controlled or modified atmospheres can considerably increase the storage life of certain fruit and vegetable cargoes. Slowing down their metabolic rate delays the natural ripening of the produce without affecting its flavour and eating quality.