What is Ripening?
Ripening is a process in fruits that causes them to become more palatable. As a rule, fruit becomes sweeter, less green, and softer as it ripens. Although the acidity of fruit may increase as it ripens, higher acidity level does not mean the fruit will necessarily be more sour (or acidic) tasting. This is attributed to the Brix-Acid Ratio.
Climacteric fruits are able to continue ripening after being picked, a process accelerated by ethylene gas. Non-climacteric fruits can ripen only on the plant and thus have a short shelf life if harvested when they are ripe.
It is possible to positively affect the rate at which the produce ripens by monitoring and controlling the concentration and levels of ethylene, along with other environmental factors such temperature, relative humidity, CO2 and O2.
By doing so, this can lead to a higher standard of presentation, longer shelf life and a more uniformly ripened, tastier piece of fruit.
The Effects of Ethylene during the Ripening of Climacteric Fruits
Ethylene production is closely associated with fruit ripening in climacteric fruits, and is the plant hormone that regulates and coordinates the ripening process; colour development, aroma production and texture. Typically, climacteric fruit will generate barely detectable amounts of ethylene until ripening when there is a burst of production.
Ethylene as a ripening trigger is used commercially with many fruits including bananas, avocados and early-season kiwifruit to ensure that fruit are ripe when required. If the fruit is to be stored for a long time, then ambient ethylene must be removed from the room - usually by scrubbing this gas from the cool room.
The following tables shows some appropriate ethylene gas levels, ethylene exposure times and temperatures for ripening certain commodities. Relative humidity should always be high, generally in the range of 80-100% for all commodities.
Appropriate ethylene and temperature levels for ripening and storage Commodity Ethylene Gas (ppm) Exposure Time (hr.) Ripening Temp. (°C) Storage Temp. (°C) Avocado 10 - 100 12 - 48 15 - 18 4.4 - 13 Banana 100 - 150 24 15 - 18 13 - 14 Honeydew Melon 100 - 150 18 - 24 20 - 25 7 - 10 Kiwifruit 10 - 100 12 - 24 0 - 20 0.5 - 0 Mango 100 - 150 12 - 24 20 - 22 13 - 14 Orange Degreening 1 - 10 24 - 72 20 - 22 5 - 9 Stone fruit 10 - 100 12 - 72 13 - 25 -0.5 - 0
Our SolutionThe EC-12 Environmental Controller is the ideal solution for ripening of fruit. Its ease of installation, ease of use and modular design make it flexible to meet the needs of small and large ripening facilities and operations.
The EC-12 offers monitoring and control of ethylene, temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, pulp temperature and oxygen.
The EC-12 can be configured and monitored remotely therefore providing the operator peace of mind if not onsite 24 hours a day.