A common topic frequently asks if there is a packaging solution to keeping fruits fresh – the answer is to use Ethylene absorbers.
Have you ever bought avocados, bananas, apples, and other greens only to discover them rotten the very next day? Here you must note that you may have been storing the wrong mix of fruits and veggies together.
Many fruits release an almost undetectable chemical known as ethylene. Excessive release of ethylene from the fruit or vegetables leads to loss of chlorophyll. Chlorophyll gives pigmentation to the plants and fruits, making them green and allowing them to convert sunlight into energy.
This chlorophyll breakdown causes greens to turn brown or yellow. The more fruit ripens, the more ethylene gas it is going to produce. In case if there are other fruits and vegetables nearby, the gas will act as a catalyst to ripen them fast as well.
There have been observations that fruits and vegetables that produce ethylene slowly can ripen faster by spraying ethylene chemical over them.
That is why it is essential to understand about which fruits and vegetables produce more ethylene to take precautionary measures to protect the produce.
So, before we get to how ethylene absorber can help keep fruits and veggies fresh, let us find out which fruits and vegetables are involved in the discussion.
Storing Ethylene Producers Separately
Here is a list of fruits and vegetables that are known for producing a high amount of ethylene gas. Hence they are also susceptible to the damage caused by it. Therefore, it is advised to store them away from the rest of the other fruits.
- Bananas (Use a plastic wrap over the stems if you wish to slow down the ripening process, it also prevents the release of ethylene)
- Melons including honeydew and cantaloupe
Other fruits that produce ethylene in colossal quantity but are not sensitive to it are nectarines, plums, peaches, and damaged or bruised potatoes.
In case avocados and bananas are not ripe enough, they can be stored together. In case any item starts going bad, move it away to prevent others and reduce the ripening process.
How to Store Ethylene Sensitive Fruits
Always remember to store ethylene sensitive fruits and vegetables away from the ones that produce a high amount of ethylene gas. These fruits and vegetables usually do not emit a lot of ethylene themselves either; hence they are also sensitive to it. Here is a list of these items.
- Brussel sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
Store them Anywhere Fruits and Veggies
Some fruits and vegetables do not either emit or react to ethylene gas. Therefore, storage is much simpler. These include.
- Bell peppers or capsicum
- Citrus fruits such as limes, lemon, and oranges
- And undamaged potatoes
Generally, it is the fruits that are producing excessive volumes of ethylene gas comparing to vegetables. Naturally, all fruits and veggies need to breathe. Therefore, try not to store them together too much. When using plastic bags, always ensure it has air holes.
Keep It Fresh With Ethylene Absorbers
Fresh fruits and vegetables start too ripe after harvesting. During this process, they are continuously producing water vapours and ethylene gas.
In the packaging of an enclosed fresh fruit, it increases the ripening rate due to the accumulation of ethylene gas.
This phenomenon also results in a faster-rotting process of fruits as both water vapours and ethylene gas combine as catalysts to aggravate the ripening cycle resulting in faster microbial damage and spoilage.
Ethylene absorbers are the most effective means to rectify or slow down the loss of freshness, quality, and shelf-life of fruits and vegetables.
These ethylene absorber sachets contain a unique composition mixture of potassium permanganate and Zeolite powder. These two have properties to absorb both ethylene and moisture while simultaneously causing VBI, i.e., Volatile Bacterial Inhibition.
Ethylene causes deterioration, shattering, and ripening of the fruits and the excessive moisture speeds up the decaying process. This is a reason for the buildup on fungus and mould in some of the fruits.
Place ethylene absorbers with fresh fruits and vegetables, and they will help protect products and extend their shelf-life considerably. The sachet containing ethylene absorber is a breathable Tyvek and DuPont membrane.
The ethylene absorber sachets will help absorb ethylene gas produced. These ethylene absorber sachets are available in a variety of sizes, such as 1 gm, 2 gm, 5 gm, 10, and 15 gm.
How Ethylene Absorber Works
Here is a quick three-step process to describe how ethylene absorber sachets work.
- Ethylene absorber helps absorb the gas by the unique minerals within the sachet. These minerals selectively absorb ethylene only.
- These minerals within the ethylene absorber sachet attract the gas and oxidize it to carbon dioxide and water.
- The ethylene absorber also soaks up excess moisture and inhibits microbial growth.
Applications of Ethylene Absorbers
Use ethylene absorbers in export packing and corrugated boxes. They help create ethylene and bacteria-free environment to prevent fresh fruits and vegetables from its effects. However, the dosage will depend on the kind and quantity of fresh produce to protect.
Use in Mainstream Retailing
Ethylene absorbers are gaining popularity in large superstore chains across the world. Places such as Walmart, Tesco, and M&S are using ethylene absorbers in their fresh fruits packaging to prolong shelf-life by reducing spoilage and microbial breakdowns.