Especially for avocados and organic fruit

Postharvest ripening with ethylene fuels fruit sales

“Ethylene is essential in the proper postharvest ripening of many fruits, especially bananas,” says Greg Akins with Catalytic Generators. They will not suitably ripen without exposure to external ethylene; it is a prompt to the fruit to begin production of its own internal ethylene. “The results, when combined with the correct temperature, relative humidity, and ventilation of carbon dioxide, are bananas with bright, appealing and uniform color.” Other fruits, like mangoes, avocados, tomatoes and papayas respond similarly when exposed to an external source of ethylene.

Ethylene applied to organic fruit
In addition to conventional fruit, ethylene is also allowed for use on various organic fruits with the regulations varying by country. Generally, ethylene is permissible for postharvest ripening of organic tropical fruit and degreening of organic citrus. “We see demand for ripened organic fruit rise each year,” shared Akins. “The progression is expected, as more consumers realize the value of organics and businesses understand the importance of offering these fruits in a ripe and ready-to-eat state. Therefore, our sales of ethylene application products to these markets are increasing.”

Tremendous rise in ethylene application for avocados
In addition to the organic market, Catalytic Generators witnesses a tremendous rise in sales related to avocado ripening, from both packers as well as supermarket distribution centers. “About half of our business relates to banana ripening and this is certainly the main fruit that involves a postharvest ripening process,” said Akins. “However, once sellers of other fruits understood how important it is to have ready-to-eat product for their customers, ethylene application for avocados and pears skyrocketed.” Ripening centers specifically for avocados have existed for several years now in North America and more are being built across the continent. In addition, supermarket distribution centers and wholesale operations are ripening avocados for their stores and clients. Avocados are seeing a tremendous surge in not only North America, but also other countries. According to Akins, the Netherlands and China have ripening rooms built exclusively for avocados with Catalytic’s equipment being used in them. 

Opportunity for mangoes
Mangoes can also benefit from a postharvest ripening treatment that includes ethylene exposure. “Properly harvested mangoes, when ripened with external ethylene, will ripen faster and uniformly, all which will lead to ready-to-eat mangoes at retail,” said Akins. “As some clients of our generators and Ethy-Gen II Concentrate have told us, it results in a pleasurable eating experience for consumers, prompting them to buy more." 

Risk-free to people
The company is also experiencing growth in regions where ethylene generators haven’t been promoted. “In Australia, we are displacing the use of dangerous pure ethylene cylinders and less effective ‘Banana Gas’ ethylene mixtures.” Since ethylene is explosive, and Catalytic’s products cannot create an explosive amount in commercial ripening rooms, people involved in fruit ripening see distinct advantages to generator-based ethylene systems. “These systems allow them to create ethylene at low levels with no risk to property or personnel,” said Akins. “We have been in business for 45 years and created the first ethylene generator and ripening concentrate in 1973. As a result, the benefits of our products are well-known in North America and Europe, and now available in most every part of the world.”

For more information:
Greg Akins
Catalytic Generators LLC
Tel: +1-757-855-0191

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