Trials were conducted on Strawberries, Beans, Sweet Corn & Broccoli
To ascertain whether the use of Airofresh®1000 units have any material effect on/or increasing the storage life of the above products.
The strawberries, Beans, Sweet Corn and Broccoli were freshly harvested and placed into a small cold storage room for 50 hours.
Corresponding amounts were also placed into a refrigerator, also for 50 Hours.
All products were then removed and held at ambient temperatures ranging from 7 to 25 degrees Celsius for another 5 days, with recordings being taken after each consecutive 24 hour period.
Following the removal to ambient temperature no real changes were observed until day 6 when the untreated had started to shown signs of yellowing and by day 7, all the florets had yellowed.
The treated broccoli, whilst only showing minor yellowing around the base, retained its green coloration.
Moisture loss was similar in both cases, with the treated only being slightly less than the untreated.
The Airofresh unit would appear to offer the potential of a substantially longer shelf life in normal storage conditions and at retail level. The installation of these units would potentially allow growers to hold their supplies for a longer period when oversupply occurs, without the loss of quality.
The same procedure was applied to the strawberries in two types of punnets
- Multiple Layers
There was no real visual change in either product until day 5 whereby there were signs of breakdown occurring in the untreated fruit. On day 6 the untreated fruit was also becoming dull and the leaves were changing colour. By day 7 the untreated fruit was severely deteriorating to the point where 50.20% of the fruit was unusable.
Whereas with the treated fruit, the gloss remained on the fruit. The leaves had retained a good green coloration. The fruit has started to shown signs of deterioration on day 6 and by day 7, 25.80% had become unusable.
- Single Layer
The same basically applied to the single layer punnets; however the rate of deterioration was less than the multiple punnets, possibly due to less pressure on the individual fruits.
The moisture loss in both situations was very similar and the % of breakdown was slightly higher than the multiple for the treated and also less than the multiple for the untreated.
Based on the observations made under very harsh conditions the treated fruit was significantly better than the untreated fruit and in a working situation there is little doubt that the Airofresh 1000 unit would be beneficial for the reduction of spoilage in strawberries
The sweet corn under the same conditions did not show very much change in either treated or untreated, possibly due to the fact that sweet corn does not deteriorate quickly.
The only visual effects were the cuts ends on the untreated were marginally less than the treated.
Based on the observations, I would not see any value in adding AiroFresh® units to cold storage rooms, except if there was an intention to hold the sweet corn for lengthy periods in a sound condition.
The beans held under the each method did not show any significant difference. As the beans are mechanically harvested there are plenty of entry points for the entry of fungal and bacterial organisms.
Under the extreme conditions that these were held at, discoloration became clearly evident on day 6 and by day 7, breakdown was very evident.
Possibly the best solution for fresh beans would be the use of UV sterilisation in the water dump to destroy fungal and bacterial organisms which can readily enter mechanical harvesting injuries and cause rapid deterioration of the product.