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Ethylene detection in fruit supply chains

: Janssen, S.; Schmitt, K.; Blanke, M.; Bauersfeld, M.L.; Wöllenstein, J.; Lang, W.


Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series A 372 (2014), Nr.2017, Art. 20130311
ISSN: 0080-4614
ISSN: 0962-8428
ISSN: 1364-503X
ISSN: 0264-3820
ISSN: 1471-2962
Fraunhofer IPM ()

Ethylene is a gaseous ripening phytohormone of fruits and plants. Presently, ethylene is primarily measured with stationary equipment in laboratories. Applying in situ measurement at the point of natural ethylene generation has been hampered by the lack of portable units designed to detect ethylene at necessary resolutions of a few parts per billion. Moreover, high humidity inside controlled atmosphere stores or containers complicates the realization of gas sensing systems that are sufficiently sensitive, reliable, robust and cost efficient. In particular, three measurement principles have shown promising potential for fruit supply chains and were used to develop independent mobile devices: nondispersive infrared spectroscopy, miniaturized gas chromatography and electrochemical measurement. In this paper, the measurement systems for ethylene are compared with regard to the needs in fruit logistics; i.e. sensitivity, selectivity, long-term stability, facilitation of automated measurement and suitability for mobile application. Resolutions of 20-10 ppb can be achieved in mobile applications with state-of-theart equipment, operating with the three methods described in the following. The prices of these systems are in a range below €10 000.