University of California

Ask the Produce Docs (Commodity)

Can you help with my problem using ethylene absorbers with bananas?

Category
  • Banana
Question

Dr. Kader: I am facing a problem in using ethylene absorbers with Bananas.

Here are the data:

  • Banana quantity: 18 kgs.
  • Packing:  packed in 2 layers with foam cuttings and in a 25 micron polythene and in a perforated carton
  • Temperature: 30-32 Deg. C during transportation in above packing
  • Quality: 50-60% ripened
  • Color: green to yellow

The media has an adsorption of 4-5 lts. ethylene. When we keep around 8 sachets of 10 gm in different orientations (all on top, at sides and spread out etc.) the ethylene levels shown by Drager Sensor reach up to 20-30 ppm in one minute. At the same time, the media itself is not fully consumed as indicated by its colour. Only 20-25% converts to brown granules.

At 15 uL ethylene /hr by Bananas, the total ethylene generated will be around 0.04 liters by 18 kg. Bananas in 5 days. This corresponds to just 10 gm of media for keeping ethylene levels zero.

However, in actual conditions, the levels of ethylene have not come down and Bananas lost their quality. Can you please assist me with determining what the error is? (V.)

Answer

Some of the changes associated with banana are controlled by ethylene action while other changes are not controlled by ethylene action. In contrast, all changes are controlled by temperature. Thus, you should focus on how to reduce the temperature of the bananas to 15 C to get the best quality and shelf-life. Ethylene absorption is a supplemental treatment to good temperature management and 30-32 C is almost double the recommended temperature. Another factor is that ethylene has to be in contact with the absorber to be removed and that is why forced air through the cartons of the bananas, then through the absorber is critical to improving efficacy of the absorber.  Again, TEMPERATURE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN MAINTAINING QUALITY OF BANANAS AND MANAGEMENT OF THEIR RIPENING.

–Adel Kader

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