Quality and the freshness of fruit and vegetables are retained under Controlled Atmosphere conditions without the use of any chemicals. Under CA conditions, many products can be stored for 2 to 4 times longer than usual.
Vegetables and fruit respire; they take in oxygen (O2) and give off carbon dioxide (CO2). The storage of fruit and vegetables in a gas-tight environment allows the oxygen level in the air to be lowered and the level of CO2 to increase.
Long-term storage of vegetables and fruit actually involves inhibiting the ripening and ageing processes, thus retaining flavour and quality. Ripening is, in fact, postponed. This occurs as a result of modifying the gas conditions in the cool cell so that the respiration of fruit and vegetables is reduced. Controlled Atmosphere (CA) inhibits both the production of ethylene and the effectiveness thereof. Fruit that is picked too late generally produces more ethylene and is also susceptible to a number of serious storage deficiencies.
Successfully storing fruit, therefore, not only depends on technology and leak-proof cool cells but also the appropriate preparatory phase and the harvesting process.