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Enhanced Control of Fruit Ripening

Award Information

Department of Agriculture
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2004 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Compact Membrane Systems, Inc.
335 Water Street Newport, DE 19804-
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2004
Title: Enhanced Control of Fruit Ripening
Agency: USDA
Contract: 2004-33610-14422
Award Amount: $80,000.00


Ethylene is a growth hormone for plants and therefore, removal of ethylene plays an important part in maintaining the freshness of plants, especially fruits and flowers. Ethylene is generated by the fruits themselves, and is therefore a self-ripening component. In shipping of fruits and vegetables there is a great deal of effort that goes into controlling the atmosphere around the fruits and vegetables (e.g. temperature, levels of oxygen and CO2). In controlling this atmosphere, significant investment goes into controlling these gases and temperatures, and therefore, high flow rates for removal of ethylene is an impractical solution to reduce ethylene concentration. Ethylene causes significant amounts of product loss in wholesale and retail food distribution. Much of the loss is reduced quality rather than actual product loss. As examples, commercial lemon storage benefits from ethylene control in terms of better fruit pack out. The US military has found that ethylene control improves the quality of mixed loads of fruits and vegetables shopped in marine containers. Considerable product is also lost in final destination refrigerators and walk-in coolers. A cost effective control strategy would be of great value. This program introduces a novel technique for selective and controlled destruction and removal of ethylene. In so doing, one can control the ethylene concentration (less than 0.1 ppm), which will lead to the ability for greater preservation and greater shipment and therefore, greater value, for fruits and vegetables.

Principal Investigator:

Stuart M. Nemser

Business Contact:

Nadine Cragg-Lester
Grants & Financial Manager
Small Business Information at Submission:

Compact Membrane Systems, Inc.
325 Water Street Wilmington, DE 19804

Number of Employees: N/A
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No