We, Ethics Infinity Pvt. Ltd. offers the Controlled Atmosphere Storage for the Vegetable and Fruits. Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage uses oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations of about 1% to 5% for each gas in most applications. Normal room air has an O2 concentration of about 21% and CO2 levels near 0.03%. Low O2 and high CO2 levels slow the ripening process, stop the development of some storage disorders such as scald in apples, and slows the growth of decay organisms. All of these effects increase storage life of fresh produce compared with conventional refrigerated stores. These facilities are recommended for long term storage of fruits and vegetables like Apples, Pears, kiwi, cabbage etc. for up to 10 months.
In India, The use of Controlled Atmosphere technology has increased steadily, contributing significantly to extending the post-harvest life and maintaining the quality of apples during the past few years. This trend is expected to continue as technology advances are made in this field.
CA storages are generally multiple chambers with each chamber of capacity of 50-250 MT. However, it is expected that economically viable designs of small CA storages of single chamber and storage capacity of 50 MT or so may come up in near future. In CA stores produce is stored in large bins which are stackable up to 11 high (total chamber height up to 10 m) or in PVC crates which can be stacked in mild steel pallet frames up to 4 levels high (chamber height up to 8 m). Storage in CFB box may also be resorted to for short duration storage of fruits like strawberry. The refrigeration system is designed to maintain temperature of -1 °C with humidity of 90%-95% RH.
Recommended levels of O2 and / or CO2 are automatically regulated, measured and corrected during the storage period. Manual regulation supported by high precision analyzer has been in use in some countries but are getting phased out. In spite of cost implication automatic regulation levels of O2 and / or CO2 is recommended to minimize possibility of storage disorders in high value produce stored in CA storages.
Several types of CA storage technology are available which include Ultra Low Oxygen Cold Store (ULO) for Storage atmosphere below 2%, Low Ethylene CA storage, Rapid CA cold store for rapid establishment of optimal levels of O2 and CO2 levels and Programmed / Sequential CA storage. Such facilities are recommended to be store under the desired storage and CA conditions within 5 to 7 days of harvest.
Importance of Controlled Atmosphere:
CA storage has been the subject of an enormous number of biochemical, physiological and technological studies, in spite of which it is still not known precisely why it works. The actual effects that varying the levels of O2 and CO2 in the atmosphere have on crops varies with such factors as:
1. The species of crop
2. The cultivars of crop
3. The concentration of the gases in the store
4. The crop temperature
5. The state of maturity of the crop at harvest
6. The degree of ripeness of the climacteric fruit
7. The growing conditions before harvest
8. The presence of ethylene in the store
Advantages of CA Rooms:
1. Considerable decrease in fruit respiration rate, with a reduction in climatic maximum, accompanied by an expansion of both pre-climacteric and post-climacteric periods.
2. A reduction in the effect of ethylene on metabolism due to the interaction of O2 with ethylene, with a consequent delay of appearance of senescence symptoms.
3. An extension in storage life, which can even be doubled, in as much as the over ripening is delayed.
4. The preservation of an excellent firmness of flesh, due to effect of CO2 concentration on the enzymes acting on cellular membranes
5. A high turgidity is achieved, such that fruits are more juicy and crisp.
6. A smaller loss of acidity, sugars and vitamin C, so that the nutritional and sensory quality is higher
7. A limited degradation of chlorophyll, with a consequent higher stability of color.
8. CA is also used for long term grain storage where it reduces wastage due to infestation by pests, insects, etc.
These benefits manifest commercially when storage span is longer than 3 months or where quality benefits are similarly realized in consumption markets. Partial in-transit benefits are also targeted as in case of cross continent ocean transport where an added week in special CA transport containers allows for longer times to new markets at added distances.
Commercial viability from controlling the atmosphere, either actively or passively ranges from product to product. In storage it is mostly used for long term storage at production end. For produce with short term storage it is used in transportation in specially designed refrigerated modes and by use of Modified Air packaging.
Use of Controlled Atmosphere (CA) Cold Storage:
Apples are the major commodity stored in Controlled Atmosphere (CA) Cold stores worldwide. The reason for limited commercial use of CA to relatively few product, despite experimented benefits on quality of many others, is related to cost benefit ratios. Like Ordinary Cold stores, CA structure must not only be air tight and refrigerated, but require added investment in equipment to modify and maintain the desired atmospheres. The volumetric size of these storage rooms is also optimized to maximize the value of the added equipment. Typically, adding CA equipment can increase the cost of constructing a cold store by x 1.8 to x3.0 times depending on various factors.