Afrox is delivering two key solutions to the food & beverages market, with the introduction of its fruit ripening gas mixtures for an optimised fruit degreening supply chain.

As Linde-BOC’s sub-Sahara African subsidiary, Afrox has two mixtures on the market called Ripegas10 and Ripegas5 - the difference being the ethylene content of each.

Ripegas10 can only be used with flameproof equipment, whereas Ripegas5 is not flammable and can be used with any other electrical equipment.

The practice of fruit degreening has been well established for many decades now, with fruit packed into a room and ethylene gas injected into the room at an ideal concentration - which differs for the type of fruit, but is typically between 10–100 ppm.

Ethylene is a naturally occurring hormone, which plays a role in the regulation of many aspects of growth, development and senescence. Highly active, with a profound effect on both colour and flavour, the controlled exposure to ethylene gas accelerates the natural ripening process.

Combined with control of ventilation and temperature, this treatment is used very successfully.

Certain fruits travel better when they are green and hard; to have degreening take place at the end of the supply chain has obvious advantages.  Transportation systems today are so good that fruit can be picked on Monday in Mpumalanga, degreened in Gauteng for two days, packed in containers for selling and be on the shelves of a London (UK) food store by Friday.

This complete supply chain service from South Africa to the UK for example, would not be possible if it wasn’t for ethylene ripening gas. Furthermore, the Ripegas10 and Ripegas5 gas mixtures from Afrox can help to provide a superior, even ripening of fruit, as well as ensuring safety as standard.

The company notes that a practice to use pure ethylene should be discouraged, as it is highly flammable and a number of explosions have occurred in the past, with the loss of life and equipment.

Safety considerations ‘must always take preference over monitory considerations’ as a rule and in this case, Afrox caters for this food supply chain with its customised gas solutions.