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What NOT To Do When Ripening Fruit

Posted by: Scott Trimble
Aug. 10, 2020

For years, Catalytic Generators has researched various methods of multiple geographic locations to better understand the cultural and environmental factors growers face daily. From this, we have developed a quick and convenient list of what not to do when ripening and degreening fruit.

What not to do….

Back your car up and use exhaust fumes for ethylene application. Yes, you read that right! There are growers that expose fresh produce to car exhaust fumes for a short period of time and close ripening room doors overnight. If this was not already assumed, do not do this! The substances applied and exposed to fresh produce are going into the bellies of human beings which is why the best ripening solution is also the safest solution: Catalytic Generators.

Catalytic Generators’ products produce ethylene, a natural plant hormone, which initiates the ripening and degreening of organics, tropical fruits, field-grown tomatoes, greenhouse tomatoes, tobacco and even sprout suppression of potatoes and onions. Felix Instruments offer an economical solution yet precise, solution to ethylene measurement. The F-900 Portable Ethylene Analyzer provides measurements of ethylene in real time.

Forget to vent ripening rooms. When fruit is ripening, carbon dioxide is released which builds up within ripening rooms that do not have air ventilation systems. Carbon dioxide production begins as the fruit ripens enters the “climacteric” phase, or the period when bananas release ethylene and have an elevated rate of respiration (along with a great deal of other physiological changes). Carbon dioxide concentrations above 1% (10,000 ppm) will retard ripening, delay the effects of ethylene and cause quality problems. Therefore, it is recommended to vent rooms by opening the doors for 20 minutes every 12 hours, after the first 24 hours of ripening. Other venting methods are by automatic fan (either timed or sensor-based) or “flow-though” (constant) ventilation.

Measurement of room gases is key and gives ripening room operators the information they need to provide consistent ripening environments. Felix Instruments produces 2 such categories of instrument. The hand-held and portable F-960 Ripen It! gas analyzer and the bolt-on F-901 AccuRipe ripening room monitoring and management system. 

Ignore humidity levels. Lower humidity leads to a loss of fruit weight which results in revenue loss at retail levels. Humidity levels should be monitored and maintained at a level above 80% to ensure fruit weight remains the same. For best ripening results, humidity should be 85 to 95%. If the humidity is too low, install a humidifier; wetting the floor of the room with water may increase the humidity but may also cause sanitation issues.

“Chilling” or “cooking” the fruit. Climacteric fruit is incredibly sensitive to temperature change. Chilling will occur if the fruit is subject to temperatures below 56° Fahrenheit for several hours. Fruit “cooking” occurs when temperatures are maintained above a certain level (exact temperature levels vary by fruit). To prevent this issue, temperature monitoring systems or data loggers should be utilized. The F-901 AccuRipe system (mentioned above) enables users to both monitor and manage gases and temperature, 


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Scott Trimble

Marketing Director

strimble@cid-inc.com