Banana need to be ripened artificially when they are harvested before ripening process starts on the tree or plant. This need arises due to the large distances fruits need to be traveled before reaching the consumer points. If fruits are ripened naturally on trees, the journey of fruits in the soft stage leads to damage of fruits before it reaches the consumer. A banned chemical powder of calcium carbide is being used by traders in the fruit and vegetable markets due to lack of knowledge and unavailability of safe ripening technologies.
Scientists recommends to use ethylene gas for the safe ripening of banana. The ripening process using ethylene takes 4 to 5 days time for each batch i.e a chamber of 15 Metric Tons will be ripened at once. Let's look at the process of banana ripening:
Step 1: Banana should be unloaded on the wooden pallets for the purpose of quality check to see the ripeness and maturity, and packed in into boxes/carats
Step 2: Boxes are shifted to the ripening chamber and stacked as per flow pattern to ensure uniform circulation of cold air throughout the boxes
Step 3: Switch on the ethylene generator and refrigeration system to maintain required concentration of gas and cold air
Step 4: Take out the ripened banana from ripening chamber after 24 hours
The ripening chamber will have the following features:
- An air tight chamber to prevent ethylene loss. This will prevent ethylene from entering unwanted areas like other chambers
- The chamber is made of insulated panels to control the temperature inside and arrest the cooling loss outside atmosphere
- The refrigeration system is provided to keep the fruit temperature based on the type and variety of the fruit.
- A small heating system is also provided to support during winter conditions
- Proper air circulation is provided by fans, to keep the fruits at uniform temperature and atmosphere conditions
- High humidity is maintained by installing a humidification system in each chamber
- An ethylene generator and ethylene measure system is provided to maintain the required ethylene composition in the air with in the chamber.
- An automatic ventilation system is provided to vent for the excess Co2 release from the chamber