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Controlled Atmosphere and Modified Atmosphere Storage

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  1. Controlled Atmosphere and Modified Atmosphere Storage Dr. Ron Porat Dept. of Postharvest Science of Fresh Produce ARO, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel

  2. Normal room air contains 21% O2 and 0.03% CO2. However, it was found that low oxygen and high carbondioxide levels slow ripening, reduce the development of some peel disorders and inhibit pathogen growth.

  3. The terms controlled atmosphere (CA) and modified atmosphere (MA) imply using an atmospheric compositions that is different from air, but they differ in the degree of their control of the gases concentrations. Control atmosphere (CA) – generally refers to decreased O2 and increased CO2 concentrations, by a precise control of the gas composition. Modified atmosphere (MA) – is used when the control of the storage atmosphere is not closely controlled, such as in plastic film packaging.

  4. CA and MA are usually used as a supplement to cold storage, but in some cases they may replace cold storage.

  5. Potential benefits of CA: • Retardation of ripening and senescence. • 2) Inhibits ethylene effects. • 3) Reduction of certain physiological disorders. • 4) Inhibition of pathogen growth. • 5) May be used for insect control.

  6. Potential harmful effects of CA: • May cause irregular ripening after storage. • 2) May cause certain physiological disorders. • 3) May enhance anaerobic respiration and development of off-flavors. • 4) May cause susceptibility to decay.

  7. Fruits and vegetables differ in their tolerance to low O2 and to high CO2 concentrations. Extreme oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations (above the limits for each cultivar) may cause physiological and pathological deterioration, interrupt with normal ripening and enhance anaerobic respiration and development of off-flavors.

  8. Tolerance of various commodities to low O2 concentrations

  9. Tolerance of various commodities to high CO2 concentrations

  10. Fruits and vegetables can be grouped according to their storage potential under optimum temperature, RH and CA conditions as followed: Up to 1 year –apple and pear Up to 6 months –kiwi, persimmon, pomegranate Up to 3 months –avocado, banana, cherry, grape, mango, nectarine, peach, plum Up to 1 month –apricot, fig, papaya, pineapple, strawberry

  11. CA or MA may be applied to improve the storage potential of either short- or long-lasting commodities.

  12. Use of CA for short-term storage

  13. Transportation of strawberries in CO2 – enriched atmosphere – TransFresh (Tectroll) technology

  14. Use of CA for long-term storage

  15. CA recommendations A CD-ROM entitled: “CA Recommendations (2001)”was published by the University of California, Postharvest Technology Center. The CD-ROM can be ordered through website access at

  16. Acta Hortic. (2003) 600: 737-740 The above recent publication from the 8th Int. CA Conference (2002) provides a list of the optimal CA conditions for 35 selected horticultural commodities.

  17. Recent developments in CA storage: Recent improvements include maintaining CA during transport in refrigerated marine containers - this allows to continue the CA chain of apple, pear and kiwi during transport. CA transport of banana permits the harvest at a more fully-mature stage. CA transport of avocado permits to use a lower temperature of 5C without the development of CI.

  18. In addition to CA, there is also a continuing increase in the use of plastic films and MAP. The greatest use of MAP is for fresh-cut products (to maintain 2-5% O2 and 8-12% CO2). It is possible to improve gas control in MAP by adding absorbers of ethylene, carbon dioxide and oxygen.

  19. Use of MAP for fresh-cut produce

  20. Fresh-cut lettuce in MAP

  21. Fresh-cut fruit in MAP

  22. The commodity and its environment: Model for gas exchange

  23. Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)

  24. Commercial MAP of banana fruit

  25. Banana – individual bags

  26. Commercial MAP of kiwi

  27. Commercial MAP of broccoli

  28. Commercial MAP of apples

  29. Commercial MAP of cherries

  30. Commercial MAP of grapes

  31. Individual seal packaging of oranges China, 2007

  32. MAP of mangoes Bangkok, 2007

  33. MAP of apples Bangkok, 2007

  34. MAP of peppers Bangkok, 2007

  35. Pallet of Mango fruit covered with PE

  36. Gas permeability of various plastic films

  37. Perforated bags Bangkok, 2007

  38. In addition to gas exchange properties, new polymeric films have been developed with various water vapor transmission rates, which allow to control the RH inside the package and to avoid problems caused by water condensation.

  39. Water condensation inside MAP

  40. Effects of different MA films on water condensation

  41. Effects of different MA films on water condensation

  42. Water condensation and decay development Bangkok, 2007

  43. Water condensation in fresh-cut pineapple Thailand, 2011

  44. In commercial practice, CA is applied especially in apples and pears, whereas MA is successfully applied in a wide range of produce

  45. The following pictures explore some applicable uses of CA and MAP storage:

  46. Effects of MAP on the inhibition of ripening in Mango fruit

  47. Effects of MAP on the quality of pomegranate fruit