Disinfecting Air & Reducing Ethylene in Cold Rooms

Disinfecting Air and Reducing Ethylene in Cold Rooms

Mold and bacteria can severely impact the quality of meat, chicken, fish, fruits and vegetables that may be stored or prepared in warehouses and cold rooms. Ethylene off-gassing causes fruits and vegetables to prematurely ripen and aged, dramatically shortening shelf-life.

Sanuvox UV IL-CoilCean systems installed facing the cooling coil are designed to bask the coil and air with ultraviolet energy destroying microorganisms including bacteria, mold and viruses while oxidizing and reducing ethylene off-gassing.

With its high efficiency patented air disinfection systems, Sanuvox offers the right solution when the objective is to destroy airborne bio-chemical contaminants (e.g. bacteria, viruses, mold) that may affect the storage and preparation of fish, chicken and meat, as well as destroy ethylene off-gassing that causes produce to ripen faster.

THE EQUIPMENT

Multi-IL CoilClean units are installed facing the cooling coils in the fan coil unit. Each IL unit includes a UV-C/UV-V lamp mounted in an anodized aluminum parabolic reflector. The ballast box incorporates LED status lights for providing lamp status and replacement and can be remotely monitored.

OPERATING THE EQUIPMENT

The fan coil unit recirculates the air where:
1. The UV-C germicidal section of the UV lamp destroys airborne biological contaminants (viruses, mold, bacteria and spores).
2. The UV-V oxidizing section of the UV lamp reduces ethylene, slowing down the ripening process of vegetables and fruits. Coils remain clean and more energy efficient.

SLOWING DOWN THE CONTAMINATION SPREAD WITH UV-C
Produce will degrade due to the rotting process that is caused by parasitic fungi and mold. Food deterioration begins with the breakdown of the cellular tissue by enzymatic action that allows the growth of microbes. Germicidal UV (UV-C) is extremely effective at preventing the reproduction of bio-contaminants because UV-C destroys airborne fungi, molds and spores, limiting the contamination spread from one fruit to another. Meat, fish and chicken are especially vulnerable to airborne biocontamination. UV-C sterilizes the air, destroying contaminants as they circulate within the cold room.

RETARDING THE RIPENING PROCESS WITH UV-V
Photo-oxidation with UV-V can be used to reduce chemicals that trigger the ripening of fruits and vegetables. The life stages of a plant are influenced by plant hormones. An organic compound involved with ripening is ethylene, a gas created by plants from the amino acid, methionine. Ethylene increases the intracellular levels of certain enzymes in fruit and fresh-cut products, which include:

  • Amylase, which hydrolyzes starch to produce simple sugars.
  • Pectinase, which hydrolyzes pectin, a substance that keeps fruit hard.

UV-V oxidizes and thus neutralizes the ethylene molecules released by the ripening process, slowing down the spread of ripening to the surrounding produce. This oxidation process breaks down ethylene into carbon dioxide and water vapor.
Ethylene C2H4 C2H4+ O* -> CO2 +H2O

WHERE TO INSTALL

Many buildings and facilities can be equipped with the IL-CoilCean systems, like cold storage rooms, groceries, meat, fish and chicken storage, preparation facilities, fruit and vegetable retailers, warehousing and transportation.

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Fruits & Vegetables Surface Disinfection

Fruits and Vegetables Surface Disinfection

Surface contamination of fruits and vegetables is a problem for growers, distributors and retailers. Mold and bacteria can have severe effects causing produce to spoil.

Sanuvox UV IL Food Safe purifiers for food products and their packaging are exceptionally safe and versatile disinfection systems for surface, packaging and conveyor applications designed to bask meat, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables, baked goods and packaging with UV-C germicidal light. The UV system is extremely effective at destroying surface contamination while extending product shelf-life. Only a few seconds of exposure can achieve up to 99.9999% destruction of common biological contaminants that are problematic in the food industry.

Incorporate the UV fixtures into the production line (i.e. over the conveyor belts) to bask the products and surfaces prior to packaging, maintening a sterile product ready for distribution and consumption.

As the system is incorporated into the production line, the lamps are covered with Teflon, that will trap pieces of grlass in the event of breakage.

When the objective is to prevent and destroy microbial contamination, such as bacteria and fungi that occur naturally on fruit and vegetable surfaces, and are responsible for premature decay, Sanuvox offers the right solution with its high efficiency patented air purification system. The process will leave no residue as is found using chlorine or irradiation treatments with gamma rays. At the producer level, sterilization of fruits and vegetables could reduce the use of pesticides.

THE EQUIPMENT

IL Food Safe purifier for food products equipped with parabolic reflectors and Teflon coated lamps will be positioned equidistant across the conveyor, parallel to it. Computerized sizing programs taking into account the speed of the conveyor and the contaminant(s) to be treated will determine the size of the lamps.

Typical installation:

OPERATING THE EQUIPMENT

The end user will determine the location and design of the lamp assembly enclosure that will attach to
the conveyor guaranteeing there is no direct UV exposure to employees. Fruits and/or vegetables will be exposed for a predetermined period of time to UV light as they move through the enclosure on the conveyor. This predetermined time will be sufficient to sterilize the fruit and/or vegetable pathogens and slow down ripening process.

RESEARCH ON STRAWBERRIES
Researchers from the Department of Food, Science and Nutrition (Laval University, Quebec, Canada) demonstrated that exposing strawberries to ultraviolet light prolongs their shelf life. Freshly picked strawberries exposed to germicidal ultraviolet (UV-C) have retained their freshness for 14 to 15 days, while untreated freshly picked strawberries were “almost done” on the tenth day.

The conclusions from this research have been published in the Food Science Journal. Refrigeration, which slows the growth of microorganisms and fruit ripening, allows a limited but effective mean regarding conservation of strawberries.

“Exposure to UV-C is a very interesting approach to facilitate the marketing and distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables”, says researcher Joseph Arul. This treatment slows the ripening of strawberries: they remain firm longer, their respiratory rate is lower, their color is more attractive and the taste is not altered. “It is believed that exposure to UV-C would kill some mold on the surface of the fruit or, more likely, the treatment would stimulate the defense mechanisms of the produce,” suggests the researcher.

Arul’s team has already demonstrated the benefits of UV-C exposure for the conservation of carrots, broccoli, tomatoes and blueberries.

Arul does not anticipate negative reactions from consumers, unlike gamma irradiated food, or more recently, genetically modified organisms. “The technique is more acceptable to a consumer. In low doses, UV is beneficial. It is a light source and I do not think people have problems with that.”

WHERE TO INSTALL

Many facilities can be equipped with the IL Food Safe, like vegetable growers, fruit and vegetable importers, hydroponic producers, and value-added packagers.

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