Enhanced Control of Fruit Ripening

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2004-33610-14422
Agency Tracking Number: 2004-00323
Amount: $80,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2004
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
325 Water Street, Wilmington, DE, 19804
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Stuart Nemser
 (302) 999-7996
Business Contact
 Nadine Cragg-Lester
Title: Grants & Financial Manager
Phone: (302) 999-7996
Email: nadine.lester@compactmembrane.com
Research Institution
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.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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