South Africa’s blueberry industry has experienced significant growth in the past few years, becoming a major player in the global market. In order to maintain its competitive edge and deliver top-quality products to consumers worldwide, the industry has turned to innovative techniques such as Controlled Atmosphere, to enhance post-harvest quality and extend the shelf life of blueberries, ensuring the final customer’s satisfaction.
By modifying oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in transit, resulting in reducing the respiratory rate of Blueberries and slowing down the senescence process, we’re able to extend the shelf life and marketability of this commodity, promoting freshness, firmness, and flavor.
The majority of South African blueberries are exported to Europe, with transit times of approximately 24 days. Knowing this information and the requirements for exporting this commodity, all efforts need to be focused in extending fruit shelf life as much as possible. Additionally, an extended shelf life and improved quality of blueberries treated with CA make them more desirable to importers and retailers at destination markets. By delivering good fruit, South Africa has established a reputation that can be beneficial for the growth of the market and projections.
Liventus have done extensive research into the optimal CA conditions for blueberries over the past few seasons. One of the outcomes of this research has been the development of an atmosphere which provides the best result in terms of firmness and control of rots and molds. For this reason, Liventus now recommends an atmosphere which has a higher O2 level than traditional use. This O2 level results in less sensitive to soft fruit. The CO2 level is in line with current trends and offers protection against the proliferation of rots and molds.
Liventus have also developed a macro perforated pallet bag which covers the entire pallet, whilst being open at the base. This allows normal airflow in a container environment, but at the same time creates a micro-environment inside the bag, resulting in higher humidity compared to general container area. This leads to a lower vapor deficit gradient, and less moisture loss from the berries in transit. Using this bag doesn’t affect maintenance of the temperature of the cargo in the container. Combining the bag with CA technology is referred to as Liventus Full Control.
A further enhancement to the service that Liventus provides on its shipments, is a modem which allows remote monitoring of the container and internal atmosphere conditions. This service can be provided to the shipper to follow their own shipments and observe the CO2 levels. The temperature can also be added to monitor if a compatible sensor is used. This is our ALMA service.
As South Africa continues to expand its presence in the global blueberry market, the utilization of Controlled Atmosphere technology will play a pivotal role in driving the industry’s success.
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