Finding a rinsing or sanitising system that is both effective and safe and also acceptable for the discerning client can become a challenge. Historical methods such as chlorine rinse or sulphur pads are no longer acceptable especially on exports. Internationally and more recently in South Africa, the use of ozone and UV is fast becoming the perfect effective and safe sanitising method.
Fresh food storage
All fresh food producers and exporters have a major potential problem in keeping their post-harvest products fresh and disease free.
Finding a rinsing or sanitising system that is both effective and safe and also acceptable for the discerning client can become a challenge. Historical methods such as chlorine rinse or sulphur pads are no longer acceptable especially on Internationally and more recently in South Africa, the use of ozone and UV is fast becoming the perfect effective and safe sanitising method.
Blue Skies are a good example of an efficient Company that has recognised that in order to meet the ever-increasing demands of the European Community (ECC), alternative sanitising methods need to be found to replace chlorine dosing in their post harvest product. Airzone air purifiers using ozone and UV technologies supplied by Ozone Solutions have been successfully utilised over the last couple of years to perform this function.
Their cold chain links have been upgraded so that UV and Ozone are installed into their Cold Rooms throughout the whole of the South African Cold Chain. This means that they are sanitised on a continuous base using UV and Ozone.
Blue Skies need to ensure that their goods arrive in Europe and still have a good shelf life. By putting all these checks and measures in place and sanitation at post harvest, prior to the cold chain, Blue Skies has become one of South Africa’s leading exporters of fresh produce to Europe.
Skyservices specializes in providing effective cost efficient logistical solutions for Perishable Shippers to and from Southern Africa by air. Their business philosophy is to focus and understand the Shippers’ requirements and provide tailor-made
solutions for their logistic requirements. This same philosophy is applied to their Service Providers such as Ozone Solutions, who were carefully selected as being able to meet the exact requirements of Sky Services’ Shippers / Exporters, and their valued clients. This philosophy has attracted some of the best customers in their respective perishable export and import fields and is evident in the many top agent awards that Sky Services has received in to ensure that post-harvest perishables (in this case fruit and vegetables) are kept fresh and disease free, Skyservices utilises the most current and efficient storage equipment, and skilfully manages the different practices of fumigation, refrigeration, humidity control, and surface and air sanitation. They also have a Pharmaceutical Methods used in storage to keep produce fresh and disease free:
Decay of postharvest fruit is most often caused by fungal pathogens. The most common postharvest fungal diseases of fruit are Diplodia stem-end rot (Lasiodiplodia theobromae), Phomopsis stem-end rot (Phomopsis citri [teleomorph Diaporthe citri]), and green mould (Penicillium digitatum). Sour rot (Galactomyces citri-aurantii), anthracnose (Colletotrichum gloeosporioides), and, less frequently, Alternaria stem- end rot (black rot) (Alternaria alternata). Brown rot (primarily Phytophthora palmivora and P. nicotianae) can also cause commercially important losses of fruit.
To reduce postharvest losses certain factors need to be actively managed and are of
- Efficient postharvest cooling.
- Sanitation of the product and equipment.
- Disinfection of the air to reduce the threat of moulds.
Although ozone can play a major part in all of these procedures, if applied correctly, Skyservices utilise the Airzone products principally to disinfect the air to reduce mould and mildew are generic terms for various types of fungi. Fungi produce enormous quantities of microscopic spores. These spores are always present in the environment and are spread by air currents. When these spores find a hospitable environment they will germinate. If small patches of germinating spores are ignored you will get a mould bloom or outbreak. A mould bloom is basically millions of fungi producing enormous quantities of spores. To reduce the threat of mould it is essential to maintain an environment that is not hospitable for the germination of mould spores. An unhospitable environment would have a temperature of between 20 – 22 degrees C, and a relative humidity of 65% or less. This environment, unfortunately, is also unhospitable for the storage of fruit.
To maintain an environment conducive to good fruit storage; that is, the retardation of premature ripening (ethylene control), and to reduce the threat from moulds, Skyservices employs the use of Airzone ultraviolet and ozone air sanitation systems Ozone in Cold Storage at the right levels kills airborne and surface microorganisms, shuts down the sporulation process, and consumes ethylene produced by ripening. After oxidising microorganisms, ozone immediately reverts to pure oxygen, leaving no residue and maintaining the taste, texture and smell characteristics.
Ultraviolet light can be separated into various ranges, with short wave UV (UV-C) being germicidal. At a wavelength of 254 nm, UV rays will disrupt the molecular bonds within a micro-organism, thereby rendering them harmless and inhibiting growth and reproduction. The effectiveness of germicidal UV depends on the length of time a micro-organism is exposed to the rays. In Skyservices fruit storage facilities, deactivation is achieved by air circulation created by the chilling fans, bringing the air into contact with the ultraviolet lamps. Multiple passes ensure that the ultraviolet is effective against the highest number of micro-organisms, and able to sufficiently irradiate the most resilient of micro-organisms.
Ozone Solutions have provided various products using Ozone gas and Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation to destroy airborne pathogens, eliminate viral cross contamination and generally control infection.