The Ultimate Guide to Ethylene Control

In the realm of agriculture and fresh produce storage, the battle against premature ripening and spoilage is ongoing. Ethylene, a natural plant hormone, is a significant player in this challenge, affecting fruits and vegetables’ shelf life and quality. Fortunately, ethylene control technologies, including ethylene scrubbers, offer an innovative solution to this problem. This guide explores the necessity of ethylene scrubbers in preserving produce and introduces the revolutionary AirROS system as an unparalleled alternative for comprehensive ethylene control and sanitization.

Understanding Ethylene and Its Impact on Produce

Ethylene plays a crucial role in the ripening process of many fruits and vegetables. While it’s essential for natural ripening, its accumulation in storage and transportation environments can lead to premature aging and degradation of produce. This makes effective ethylene control a cornerstone in extending the shelf life and maintaining the quality of perishable goods.

Fruits Highly Sensitive to Ethylene

Certain fruits exhibit heightened sensitivity to ethylene, necessitating careful management to ensure they reach consumers in prime condition:

  • Apples: Known to produce and be very sensitive to ethylene, which accelerates ripening and can lead to over-ripening in storage.
  • Bananas: Extremely sensitive to ethylene, which can cause rapid yellowing and softening.
  • Avocados: Ethylene speeds up the ripening process; controlling ethylene can help manage ripening times post-harvest.
  • Tomatoes: Though technically a fruit, they are sensitive to ethylene, which affects their ripening stage and shelf life.
  • Pears: Like apples, pears produce and are sensitive to ethylene, affecting their ripening and storage life.
  • Kiwi: Sensitivity to ethylene affects their ripening process and storage longevity.
  • Mangoes: Ethylene accelerates ripening, and controlling its levels can help in managing quality.

Vegetables Sensitive to Ethylene

Likewise, several vegetables demand meticulous ethylene management to preserve freshness and nutritional value:

  • Broccoli: Highly sensitive to ethylene, which can cause yellowing and increase in bitterness.
  • Lettuce and Other Leafy Greens: Ethylene exposure can lead to leaf yellowing and senescence.
  • Cucumbers: Sensitive to ethylene, which can lead to yellowing and softening.
  • Carrots: Ethylene can cause bitterness and root sprouting.
  • Green Beans: Ethylene sensitivity can lead to yellowing and texture degradation.

Common Ethylene Control Technologies and Their Limitations

1. Ozone Generators

  • Mechanism: Utilizes ozone (O3), a powerful oxidant, to neutralize ethylene, pathogens, and VOCs.
  • Limitations: While effective, ozone generators require careful handling and monitoring due to potential health risks at high concentrations. Their use demands strict adherence to safety protocols to avoid harmful exposure, limiting their applicability in certain environments.

2. Activated Carbon Filters Combined with UV Light

  • Mechanism: This dual approach uses activated carbon for ethylene and VOC adsorption, with UV light for sterilization.
  • Limitations: The effectiveness of activated carbon filters declines over time, necessitating regular replacement. UV light components also require periodic maintenance to ensure continued efficacy, presenting an ongoing cost and labor investment.

3. Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) Systems

  • Mechanism: Employs a photocatalyst, like titanium dioxide (TiO2), activated by UV light to oxidize organic compounds.
  • Limitations: While PCO systems are effective in purifying air and surfaces, their performance can depend on sufficient light and the surface area of the photocatalyst. This technology might be less effective in large or complex storage areas without significant adaptation.

4. Ethylene Absorbers (Sachets, Sheets, Blankets) with Antimicrobial Properties

  • Mechanism: Combines ethylene adsorption materials with antimicrobial agents for targeted control.
  • Limitations: These products provide a localized solution that may be less effective in larger or more open storage environments. Their effectiveness is also time-limited, requiring regular replacement to maintain ethylene control and pathogen reduction.

5. Hydroxyl Radical Generators

  • Mechanism: Generates hydroxyl radicals (•OH) to oxidize ethylene and neutralize pathogens.
  • Limitations: While offering a safe method for air and surface purification, the effectiveness of hydroxyl radical generators can vary based on environmental conditions and the size of the area being treated. Consistent performance in diverse storage conditions can be challenging to achieve.
  • Hydroxyl Radicals only live for half a second to seconds; as a result, it is only effective in short ranges. A few inches from the device.

Introducing AirROS: A Comprehensive Ethylene Control and Sanitization Solution

The AirROS system represents a significant advancement in ethylene control technology. Utilizing Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) technology, it offers dual benefits: it effectively scrubs ethylene from the air and sanitizes surfaces and the atmosphere within storage and transport environments.

How AirROS Works

  • Ethylene Scrubbing: AirROS operates safely, using low levels of ozone (20 parts per billion) and hydrogen peroxide in the gas phase to scrub ethylene, ensuring that fruits and vegetables retain their freshness and extend their shelf life.
  • Sanitization: Beyond ethylene control, it neutralizes a wide range of pathogens and VOCs, creating a healthier environment for stored produce.
  • User-Controlled Sanitization: Equipped with a smart controller and sensor, AirROS allows users to monitor ROS levels in real-time and adjust the sanitization power. This feature is invaluable for adapting to varying loads of produce and their specific ethylene sensitivities.

AirROS system showcasing its ethylene control and room sanitization capabilities in an cold storage environment.

The Benefits of Choosing AirROS

  • Versatility: Effective across a wide range of produce, AirROS is suitable for any storage size, from small rooms to large warehouses.
  • Safety and Efficiency: Operates continuously 24/7, ensuring a consistently low level of ethylene and pathogens without compromising human safety.
  • Control and Flexibility: The adjustable control feature allows for tailored ethylene scrubbing, adapting to different produce needs and storage conditions.

For growers, distributors, and storage facility managers aiming to maintain the highest quality and extend the shelf life of fruits and vegetables, ethylene control is a critical concern. The AirROS system emerges as a superior solution, offering not just ethylene scrubbing but also comprehensive sanitization capabilities. This dual action ensures that produce is stored in an optimal environment, significantly reducing spoilage and waste. As the industry evolves, embracing technologies like AirROS can lead to more sustainable and profitable agricultural practices, marking a new era in produce storage and transportation.

In the quest for the best ethylene control solutions, the innovative approach of AirROS sets a new standard, promising healthier produce and happier consumers.


Frequently Asked Questions about Ethylene Control and AirROS

To enhance understanding and provide valuable insights into ethylene control and the innovative AirROS system, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions. These FAQs aim to address common inquiries, helping readers make informed decisions about managing ethylene levels and ensuring optimal storage conditions for fruits and vegetables.

What is ethylene, and why is it important to control it in agricultural storage?

Ethylene is a naturally occurring plant hormone that plays a crucial role in the ripening process of many fruits and vegetables. While essential for ripening, excessive ethylene exposure in storage environments can accelerate this process, leading to premature spoilage and reduced shelf life. Controlling ethylene levels helps maintain produce quality, extend shelf life, and reduce waste.

How does the AirROS system work for ethylene control and sanitization?

The AirROS system utilizes Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) technology, employing low levels of ozone and hydrogen peroxide in the gas phase to effectively scrub ethylene from the air and sanitize storage environments. It operates continuously, providing 24/7 protection against ethylene and pathogens, and features adjustable control for customized sanitization levels.

What makes AirROS different from traditional ethylene scrubbers?

AirROS stands out for its dual functionality, offering both ethylene control and comprehensive environmental sanitization. Traditional ethylene scrubbers typically focus on ethylene removal without addressing pathogens or VOCs. Additionally, AirROS’s adjustable sanitization feature and continuous operation without the need for frequent maintenance or replacement parts offer significant advantages over other systems.

Can AirROS be used in all types of produce storage and transportation facilities?

Yes, AirROS is versatile and can be effectively used in a wide range of storage and transportation settings, from small-scale farm storage to large commercial warehouses and refrigerated transport. Its ability to adjust sanitization levels makes it suitable for various types of produce with different ethylene sensitivity and storage requirements.

Are there any safety concerns with using AirROS in produce storage environments?

AirROS is designed to operate safely within agricultural storage environments, using low levels of ozone and hydrogen peroxide that are effective for ethylene scrubbing and sanitization without posing health risks. The system comes with a controller and sensor to monitor ROS levels, ensuring they remain within safe limits for both produce and humans.

How often does the AirROS system require maintenance?

One of the advantages of the AirROS system is its low maintenance requirements. Unlike traditional ethylene scrubbers and sanitization systems that may require frequent filter changes, bulb replacements, or other maintenance, AirROS is designed for continuous, long-term operation with minimal maintenance needs.

Can adjusting the sanitization power of AirROS impact the quality of the produce?

Adjusting the sanitization power of the AirROS system allows for tailored ethylene control and pathogen reduction based on specific produce needs and storage conditions. This customization ensures that produce is stored in an optimal environment, enhancing quality and extending shelf life without adverse effects.

Incorporating AirROS into your agricultural storage and transportation practices offers a comprehensive solution to ethylene control and environmental sanitization, addressing the challenges of maintaining produce quality and extending shelf life. For more information or to explore how AirROS can benefit your operations, please contact our team.


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