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Ultra-High Efficiency Ethylene Scrubber to Reduce Cold Storage Costs of Produce


Fruits and vegetables are a fundamental food resource, and prolonging their shelf life and quality is a critical challenge, especially during long-term storage and shipping. One approach to improving postharvest shelf life is to reduce the amount of ethylene in the storage environment. A plant hormone, ethylene promotes ripening, but it can also lead to a deterioration of produce quality for susceptible produce exposed to high ethylene levels. Further, it has been shown that ethylene mitigation in the postharvest cycle will alleviate the temperature requirements for optimum produce storage, thereby decreasing costs associated with cold storage. The goal of the project is to develop a reliable, cost-effective, facile approach to ethylene control that can be widely adopted across many parts of the postharvest cycle to prolong the storage life of fruits and vegetables. The strategy relies on an oxidation catalyst that will be employed under typical storage conditions, specifically high humidity levels (80-90% relative humidity) and low temperatures (30-55 °F). Project objectives are developed as a strategy toward achieving this goal: 1) develop and optimize a catalyst for the photooxidation of ethylene under a high humidity environment with properties that translate to a reduction in energy costs for system operation; 2) develop catalyst form factors suitable for rational system designs that optimize the performance of the catalyst with respect to ethylene reduction; and 3) characterize the performance of the catalyst for ethylene reduction efficiency under typical storage conditions.

Petruska, Melissa
Sonata LLC
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