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Storing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables for Longer: Low-temperature Ethylene Oxidation Catalyst

Technology Overview

The perishable nature of food presents a major problem for storage and transport over long distances. Food spoilage in particular has huge impacts: According to the Save Food Initiative, up to 40 percent of globally produced food spoils during transport and distribution.

Ripening fruit, vegetables, and flowers release ethylene – which behaves like a plant hormone. Our technology offers a means to prolong the shelf-life of fresh fruits and vegetables by slowing down the ripening processes. It works by combusting the ripening gas ethylene at low temperatures using a proprietary catalyst, which is capable to decompose the phytohormone ethylene from -20°C on. Thus, it can, for instance, retain the freshness of green vegetables when embedded in the vegetable box of a refrigerator. The catalyst is applied as a permanent component and does not need regeneration or replacement.

Technology Features & Specifications

This technology is a catalyst from metal particles loaded on specially designed mesoporous silica, and carries the following features:

  • Active at low temperatures
  • Capable of decomposing ethylene gas into carbon dioxide in low-temperature environments of a refrigerator
  • Able to prolong the shelf life of fresh vegetables
  • In contrast to other systems (such as photocatalysts), no additional energy or irradiation is needed – only air
  • Does not require regeneration of replacement
  • Can potentially break down other hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at ambient conditions

Potential Applications

Tools to maintain postharvest fruit and vegetable quality:

  • Ethylene abatement in refrigerators – prolonged vegetable freshness
  • Prolonged shelf-life of perishable foods (vegetables, fruits) during transport, controlled atmosphere during storage and in retail space

Customer Benefits

  • Allows fruits and vegetables to retain their freshness during transportation, distribution and storage
  • Enables access to fresh fruits and vegetables for consumption
  • Improved health and wellness

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