Controlled Atmospheres For Fresh Fruits And Vegetables

Controlled-atmosphere (CA) storage is a technique for maintaining the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables in an atmosphere that differs from normal air with respect to the concentrations of oxygen (02), carbon dioxide (C02), and/or nitrogen (N2). The desired compositions of the atmosphere for storing commodities are usually obtained by initially increasing C02 or decreasing 02 levels in a gas-tight storage room or container. Sometimes, the addition of carbon monoxide (CO) or removal of ethylene (C2H4) may also be beneficial.

Modified atmosphere (MA) is a condition similar to CA, but with less or no active control of the gas concentrations. In MA, the 02 level is reduced and the C02 level is increased at a rate determined by the respiration rate of the commodity, the storage temperature, and the permeability of the container and film wrap to the gases. Judicious selection of the commodity, the package dimensions, and the package material will insure establishment and maintenance of the desired atmosphere under specified storage temperatures.

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