RipeLocker is broadening the use of its system for senescence control and decay suppressant of perishables to eliminate fruit flies without the application of postharvest fumigants such as methyl bromide or the required cold treatments at the port of loading.
Disinfestation trials are being conducted by RipeLocker’s research partners in the United States and Australia to control these pests and eliminate their development and reproduction while being stored inside the RipeLockers.
The USDA has been searching for a chemical-free alternative to reduce the time highly perishable items must remain at the port of loading for quarantine before being exported. Successful trial results have been seen at the USDA ARS research lab in Parlier, California testing the efficacy of RipeLocker’s hypobaric system as a solution for control of Spotted-Wing Drosophila (SWD) on blueberries.
“This low-pressure vacuum technology is a game changer in the fight against SWD infesting fresh fruit,” said Dr. Spencer Walse, research chemist in USDA ARS’s Commodity Protection and Quality Research. “We’ve achieved 100 percent kill of all life stages of SWD when infested blueberries were stored in the RipeLockers for just six days.”
“Six days might not sound like a long time. But for highly perishable items like blueberries, table grapes and cherries, adding six days to the time it takes to get the fruit to market is an eternity,” said George Lobisser, co-founder and CEO of RipeLocker.
Ultimately these results could allow for a grower/packer/shipper to immediately ship their fruit to the port of entry without the extra six-day cold treatment inside the packing house or at the port if this fruit is being transported via the RipeLocker.
To further test the technology overseas, the New South Wales Primary Industries fruit fly research laboratory in Australia has received the system and will soon conduct fruit fly postharvest disinfestation trials.
RipeLocker chambers offer a patented system to manage the atmospheric pressure, and gas composition (oxygen and CO2) within the chambers to extend the life of fresh produce and flowers. Based on the specific needs of each type of fresh produce or flower, the company tailors operating parameters, such as internal pressure, oxygen and CO2 levels, to optimize longevity and freshness. The system continuously reports operating data enabling real-time decision-making to senescence and decay.
RipeLocker designed its pallet-sized chambers so that they can be deployed and used in the existing cold chain. Produced using novel materials and scalable manufacturing processes, the chamber can be delivered cost-effectively in mass volume. The company has patents on both chamber design and method of operation.