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Preservation of Bananas for Ripening

Options to be tested Option 1


1. Function 2. Specification (a) Overall bag dimension (b) Structure/ Bag Type (c) Power required 3. General Information

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To pack and store the stage 2 ripened bananas in modified atmosphere packaging in an attempt to delay ripening for up to 5 days when stored at 20 o C. Box liner dimension will be 38 in. (W) x 60 in. (L) Amcor Lifespan vacuum bag (see information below)

The Horse Power for the vacuum packaging machine/ vacuum pump. Bananas usually ripen in three to five days after harvesting. We aim to delay ripening of fruits for an additional 5 to 7 days by vacuum packaging. At the pack house the matured banana hands are packaged in a box lined with a polypropylene sleeve/ bag. Using a vacuum or suction device the air/ oxygen surrounding the bananas is removed and the bag secured. The bananas are stored under vacuum for 24 hrs at 14 o C after which the vacuum is removed when air is reintroduced. Bananas are gassed and ripened to stage 2 and then the vacuum is restored for 24 48 hours. The vacuum

Prepared by : F. Reid

is again removed 1 day before the bananas are sold. This will re-trigger ripening to stage 3 within 4 to 5 days of storage at 20 o C. No further gassing is needed. 4. Cost of the unit, etc., : 5. Cost of operation 6. Salient features of this method : (Cost of the vacuum packaging machine), cost for Lifespan polypropylene bags. Additional labour cost for machine operator

The vacuum packaged green banana can be stored without ripening up to 21 days if no ripening is needed for long periods. The quality is not affected.

7. Disadvantages of the method 1. Double handling of bananas before and after ripening can cause bruising. 2. Only small quantities of bananas can be vacuumed as the process is an additional step in the pack house operations
Introduction to Lifestyle Modified Atmosphere Packaging
At the time of sealing, the internal atmosphere is air and the produce is respiring at the (higher) rate associated with air. However, the LifeSpan package has been designed for a lower respiration rate that exists under a modified atmosphere. Also, initially there is no gas concentration difference across the wall of the LifeSpan package - there is air on both sides. Hence there will be no transfer of oxygen into the package and no transfer of carbon dioxide out of the package. Respiration by the banana uses up oxygen within the headspace of the LifeSpan package and the oxygen level will begin to decline from 20.9%. Respiration by the banana releases carbon dioxide into the headspace of the LifeSpan package and the carbon dioxide level will begin to rise from 0.03%. The atmosphere is modifying passively. The rate of modification is high at first, but as it continues, the modified atmosphere will start to suppress respiration rate. At the same time, there is a growing concentration difference for each gas across the wall of the LifeSpan package. Hence there is an increasing rate of gas diffusion through the walls. In an ideal situation, the rate at which the atmosphere modifies will slow with time and eventually the MA will stabilize at the designed values for oxygen and carbon dioxide. In practice, the MA quite often overshoots the designed values and then drifts back to the long term equilibrium MA. This occurs as the modification happens at a rapid pace and there is a substantial lag in the change in respiration rate. It is important that this passive modification is monitored in development trials to ensure any overshoot does not switch the produce into anaerobic respiration.

Prepared by : F. Reid

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