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International Journal Of Rural Development, Environment And Health Research(IJREH)

Design of a Controlled Atmospheric Storage Facility for Climacteric Fruits

Brighton Mazonde , Felix Mujuru , Perkins Muredzi

International Journal of Rural Development, Environment and Health Research(IJREH), Vol-1,Issue-1, May - June 2017, Pages 47-59,

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The work focused on designing a Controlled Atmospheric Storage facility for climacteric fruits. Climacteric fruits are those fruits that continue to ripen after being maturely harvested e.g. tomatoes, bananas, papaya, guava, fig, apple, apricot, and plum. Sweet William or Veredia bananas from Chipinge (Zimbabwe) were used for experiments in the design. The researchers noted that Zimbabwean small scale fruits producers, vendors, and retailers do not have adequate storage facilities to store their produce. This inadequacy has led to rapid postharvest losses of about 30 – 40 %. The design project aimed at controlling atmospheric gases, humidity and temperature during storage of bananas as these are the parameters that accelerate deterioration if not controlled. The design had to include a swing term air filtering technology to separate or absorb oxygen from the compressed atmospheric air (about 78% N2, 21% O2, and 0.03% CO2) using Erythorbic acid inside the absorption tanks. The remaining gas composition constitute more of N2 (78%) and CO2 (0.03%) which are needed to delay ripening process. The design in the form of a metal box had to include an air tight environment; the door incorporated was air tight so as to prevent the entrance and exit of gases. It also had to include temperature detectors e.g. Thermocouples detect the temperature inside the storage. A fan that runs automatically when the door is opened was incorporated, so as to drive away any gases that might have gained entrance into the storage. An additional fan to maintain the optimum temperatures inside the storage and control the internal humidity was also added. The design had to include foam rubber between the double walls so as maintain the optimum temperature inside the box when water is allowed to flow on the foam rubber through the coolant inlet funnel. Ethylene absorbers (activated carbon impregnated with potassium permanganate) were included inside the storage for them to adsorb the produced ethylene gas by the fruits. Silica gel also added to adsorb the produced moisture which can be a media for microbial flora.

climacteric fruits,swing term air filtering technology,autocalytic ripening, phytomones, presure swing adsorption (PSA), vacuum pressure swing adsorption (VPSA), thermocouple.

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