Spoiled fruits and vegetables can eat into the profits of supermarkets.

Supermarkets in the United States lose about 10 percent of their fruits and vegetables to spoilage every single year, eating into their profit margins and making things difficult.

Fresh fruits and vegetables often spoil when they are exposed to too much ethylene gas, which promotes ripening and is produced by many fresh products themselves.

For example, bananas will stay green until they release enough ethylene to start the ripening process.

Once ripening begins, more ethylene is produced, and the ripening accelerates. If that perfect yellow banana is not eaten at peak ripeness, ethylene will turn it brown and mushy.

Fruit distributors often keep an eye on ethylene levels by installing monitors, but these systems are generally too pricey for supermarkets to install.

Supermarkets may be able to detect ripe produce with a new sensor that is being developed by an MIT professor and his students, which can detect tiny amounts of ethylene gas and help grocers decide which items to put on sale before they get too ripe.

The sensor consists of carbon nanotubes and copper atoms as well as tiny beads of polystyrene. It can detect concentrations of ethylene as low as 0.5 parts per million. Ethylene concentration required for food ripening is usually between 0.1 and one part per million.

If the sensors become commercialized, they will be very affordable, since it costs about one dollar to make it.

Source: MIT News Office

Remove ethylene gas with a carbon air cleaner

A portable, powerful air cleaner with a deep-bed activated carbon filtercan also help control the concentrations of ethylene gas in supermarkets and similar environments.

Activated charcoal

Activated carbon can remove gases, odors and chemicals

Electrocorp offers high efficiency air cleaners with a specially impregnated carbon that can adsorb ethylene gas and help fruits and vegetables last longer.

The air cleaners for commercial and industrial applications come in all sizes and filter combinations, promising the best overall protection from airborne chemicals and gases, odors and fumes, particles and dust, bacteria and viruses as well as mold.

For more information and specific recommendations, contact Electrocorp today.