ICAR-CIAE’s Pilot Scale Modified Atmosphere (MA) Storage system for bulk handling of fresh produce

India is the second largest producer of fruits by producing 97.36 Mt fruits which is around 13% of the total fruit production of the world (757.5 Mt) during the Year - 2017-18. In India, Mango, Citrus, Banana, Apple, Sapota and Litchi, etc., are the major fruit crops grown. The Mango is one of the most common climacteric fruit having delicious taste, strong aroma and is rich in vitamins A, C, and D. This makes the fruit to be entitled as the “King of Fruits” in country.

ICAR-CIAE’s Pilot Scale Modified Atmosphere (MA) Storage system for bulk handling of fresh produce   ICAR-CIAE’s Pilot Scale Modified Atmosphere (MA) Storage system for bulk handling of fresh produce

The fruit is cultivated almost in all the states of the country with the production of 21.82 Mt which is around 22.4% of the total fruit production of the country. The total fresh mango exported from the country in the Year - 2017-18 is only 0.05 Mt, which is considered to be very low. This is due to the short shelf life of high yielding variety (hybrid) and non-prevalent practices of proper post-harvest conditions. The Amrapali is one of the leading varieties of “Dasheri” Neelum and is cultivated in many parts of the country having higher yield, but short shelf life.

ICAR-CIAE’s Pilot Scale Modified Atmosphere (MA) Storage system for bulk handling of fresh produce  ICAR-CIAE’s Pilot Scale Modified Atmosphere (MA) Storage system for bulk handling of fresh produce

The certain post-harvest constraints of mango are faster fruit ripening, loose of firmness, off-flavor development, unfavorable to low temperature storage and occurrence of post-harvest diseases like Anthracnose and Gelly seed at an ambient temperature. The Modified Atmosphere (MA) Packaging is a successful technology to increase the shelf life of the fresh commodities. The technology is available for small size packages of 1 to 2 Kgs. However, for longer distance transportation of fruits and vegetables under the MA condition, the storage structures were not available. A MA storage structure of 100 Kg capacity of size (1000x750x750 MM) for handling and transportation of fresh fruit and vegetables has been developed and tested successfully.

The Modified Atmosphere Storage (MAS) System was developed using the basic principles of Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) in which the respiration of commodities and permeation of gases through the lined polymeric films takes place simultaneously and the film acts as a barrier for the transport of gases. The structure has been fabricated using the Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) that is lighter in weight and can sustain the load during the handling and transportation.

Shri Pyare Khan who has taken the auction of ICAR-CIAE mango orchard in the Year - 2019, has stored the matured Amrapali Mango in MAS structure in 3 batches (100 Kgs each). It was observed that the mango stored in MAS structure has shelf life of 12 days, which was two times more than the mango stored at ambient condition (6 days). During the storage, the quality attributes of mango stored under the MAS structure and open ambient conditions was assessed in laboratory. The quality analysis showed that the parameters namely Physiological Loss in Weight (PLW), firmness, puncture strength, colour (L*, a*, b*) and TSS were found to be 6.14%, 42.7N, 15.2N, 52.63, 5.91, 29.80 and 13.20 ˚Brix respectively, after 10 days of storage in MAS system at 25ºC which is comparable with the quality parameters at harvesting maturity. It was observed that the MAS stored mango has better overall quality than the mango stored in the normal condition. Thus, the developed structure is highly beneficial in retailing and transportation of fresh produce.

Shri Pyare Khan also reported that after ripening, the MAS stored mango attained an attractive colour, flavour and aroma which were generally not found in the normal stored mango. This leads to the enhancement of selling price of MA stored mango from Rs. 60 / Kg (mango stored at normal condition) to Rs. 80 / Kg, providing a net benefit of Rs. 14 / Kg (considering the cost of processing Rs. 6 / Kg).

According to Shri Pyare Khan, the MA storage system successfully extends the shelf life to double and provides a buffer period of one week for marketing. The cost of the MA storage system is Rs. 35,000/-. The B:C ratio, Net Present Worth, Break Even Point, and Return on Investment of the developed MAS structure are found to be 5.87; Rs. 42,460/-, 181 kg and 33.90%, respectively.

(Source: ICAR-Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Bhopal)