Why measure CO2 in transportation?
The food stays fresh for a longer period and has enhanced flavor under controlled conditions. This leads to a reduced loss of food, which in turn leads to more food for a minimal amount of energy.
The food can be transported long distances in a controlled environment. This creates a positive environmental benefit, because when you ship with only fresh food there is no need for costly freezing and thawing processes. When you control the growth process, it reduces the amount of food that goes to waste in the stores. Food producers also benefit from gas concentration measurement as it results in reduced losses in the supply chain.
Utilizing a CO₂ controlled packaging method to increase the shelf life of food products will result in less food being discarded because of short expiration dates in uncontrolled packaged products. Regulating the temperature and gas concentration in the air can slow down the maturing process without the need of using chemicals.
How does it work?
The reason why a plant’s maturing rate slows down by increasing the CO₂ level is that the gas inhibits the formation of ethylene.
Small concentrations of the gas ethylene have an effect on plant maturation rates to differing extents. The concentration of ethylene also depends on temperature; if the temperature is low, a low concentration of ethylene is required.
Oxygen levels of only 1-3% can destroy the microorganisms that cause decay.
Carbon dioxide levels of 60% combined with 1% oxygen are effective in killing insects that may be in leaves and stems of tropical fruits and vegetables, as stated in a report by Adel Kader*.
- More efficient and economical
- Reduced loss in the supply chain
- Enhanced flavours
- Increased shelf life
- Improved product quality
- Reduced need for chemical spraying
* Kader, A.A. (1994). "Modified and controlled atmosphere storage of tropical fruits", in Champ et. al. Postharvest handling of tropical fruits: proceedings of an international conference, held at Chiang Mai, Thailand, 19-23 July 1993. pp. 239-249.