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Controlled Atmosphere Technology

Controlled Atmosphere Technology (CA) allows significant production storage time and high quality preservation.

The essence of CA technology is creating storage for fruits, vegetables, berries and flowers taking into consideration several characteristics:

  1. Storage temperature;
  2. Relative air humidity;
  3. Optimal composition of the air in storage room:
    • with the oxygen ultralow content;
    • with content of the oxygen of 3-4% and the carbon dioxide (CO2) of 3-5%;
    • shock processing with carbon dioxide.

The main purpose of fresh fruit storage is to create conditions that slow down the biochemical, physical and other essential processes, which might occur within fruits after harvesting and during retardation phases, aging and dying off, thereby to save the chemical composition and commercial quality of the production.

The purpose is achieved by the use of optimal lower temperature, maintenance of relative air humidity for each kind of fruit in specialized industrial cooled storages, and (which is rare due to complexity and high price of the equipment) the use of Controlled Atmosphere Technology.

 The main form of interaction of fruit and vegetables with the environment is the process of respiration. The respiration heat is released during the storage. However, not all the heat is released to the air since a part of it is used by a cell for exchange reactions and process of evaporation, another part is stocked up in the form of chemically combined energy. The Biological role of respiration is to provide living tissue of fruit and vegetables with energy necessary for vital activity.

The process of respiration along with evaporation is accompanied with fruit and vegetables weight loss. Such loss is called natural. It can be reduced by respiration and evaporation intensity control which is a high importance.

Controlled Atmosphere storage, recently used term – CA storage, is the storage of fruit and vegetable at certain concentration of CO2 and oxygen and preset temperature. Moreover, gas mode is selected so that natural respiratory exchange and right proportion of fruit state and temperature were preserved.  The fruit put in the closed environment, due to normal respiration exchange, can change partial pressure of CO2 and oxygen in the atmosphere. While storing fruits the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere is reduced and consequently the partial pressure decreases. That is why the fruit respiration slows down.

In Controlled Atmosphere the quality of fruits is preserved better than storing in normal air environment. Green colour is preserved longer as well.

 It is necessary to cool down the production as fast as possible after harvest and maintain optimal storage parameters to decrease the fruit and vegetable production natural loss of weight and make storage time as longer as possible.

It is reached by using Controlled Atmosphere coolers with low oxygen concentration.

Fruits continue “to live” and develop after harvest until they become overriped. Fruits need great amount of energy to maintain life, which they get while using the reserves accumulated during their growth. During storage fruits continue to breath and its production of carbohydrates stops. To retard the process of decomposition of carbohydrates (sugar), fruits should be cooled down and stored in conditions specified for each sort.


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