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Difference between revisions of "Pre-cooling of Agricultural Products"

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== Ice cooling<br/> ==
 
== Ice cooling<br/> ==
 
Ice is used to remove heat from fresh produce.
 
Ice is used to remove heat from fresh produce.
 
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<u>'''Top icing''':</u> crushed ice is applied on the produce either manually or mechanically<ref name="FAO, 2009">FAO (2009) Horticultural Chain Management for Countries of Asia and the Pacific Region. [Online] Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i0782e/</ref>
 
<u>'''Top icing''':</u> crushed ice is applied on the produce either manually or mechanically<ref name="FAO, 2009">FAO (2009) Horticultural Chain Management for Countries of Asia and the Pacific Region. [Online] Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i0782e/</ref>
 
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| style="width: 636px;" | <span style="line-height: 20.400001525878906px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Brokkoli, green onions, leafy greens, brussel sprouts, leeks, cantalpupes, parsley, carrots, peas, chinese cabbage<ref name="FAO, 2009">FAO (2009) Horticultural Chain Management for Countries of Asia and the Pacific Region. [Online] Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i0782e/</ref></span>
 
| style="width: 636px;" | <span style="line-height: 20.400001525878906px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Brokkoli, green onions, leafy greens, brussel sprouts, leeks, cantalpupes, parsley, carrots, peas, chinese cabbage<ref name="FAO, 2009">FAO (2009) Horticultural Chain Management for Countries of Asia and the Pacific Region. [Online] Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i0782e/</ref></span>
 
|}
 
|}
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<u>'''Liquid icing''':</u> ice and water mix is injected through vents or handholds into packages. This is done without opening packages and without removing them from pallets<ref name="FAO, 2009">FAO (2009) Horticultural Chain Management for Countries of Asia and the Pacific Region. [Online] Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i0782e/</ref>
 
<u>'''Liquid icing''':</u> ice and water mix is injected through vents or handholds into packages. This is done without opening packages and without removing them from pallets<ref name="FAO, 2009">FAO (2009) Horticultural Chain Management for Countries of Asia and the Pacific Region. [Online] Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i0782e/</ref>
 
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| style="width: 636px;" | <div><span style="line-height: 20.400001525878906px;">Produce gets in contact with water increasing the threat of microbial development. Sanitation is crucial. <ref name="FAO, 2009">FAO (2009) Horticultural Chain Management for Countries of Asia and the Pacific Region. [Online] Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i0782e/</ref></span><br/></div>
 
| style="width: 636px;" | <div><span style="line-height: 20.400001525878906px;">Produce gets in contact with water increasing the threat of microbial development. Sanitation is crucial. <ref name="FAO, 2009">FAO (2009) Horticultural Chain Management for Countries of Asia and the Pacific Region. [Online] Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i0782e/</ref></span><br/></div>
 
|}
 
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<span style="line-height: 20.400001525878906px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><u>'''Individual package icing''':</u> <span style="line-height: 20.400001525878906px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">crushed ice is added manually on top of the packaged produce<ref name="FAO, 2009">FAO (2009) Horticultural Chain Management for Countries of Asia and the Pacific Region. [Online] Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i0782e/</ref></span></span>
+
 
 +
<u>'''Individual package icing''':</u> crushed ice is added manually on top of the packaged produce<ref name="FAO, 2009">FAO (2009) Horticultural Chain Management for Countries of Asia and the Pacific Region. [Online] Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i0782e/</ref>
  
 
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| style="width: 635px;" | <span style="line-height: 20.400001525878906px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Application of ice on every single package is labor intensive and slow and is therefore mainly applied to small operations</span><ref name="FAO, 2009">FAO (2009) Horticultural Chain Management for Countries of Asia and the Pacific Region. [Online] Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i0782e/</ref>
 
| style="width: 635px;" | <span style="line-height: 20.400001525878906px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Application of ice on every single package is labor intensive and slow and is therefore mainly applied to small operations</span><ref name="FAO, 2009">FAO (2009) Horticultural Chain Management for Countries of Asia and the Pacific Region. [Online] Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i0782e/</ref>
 
|}
 
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<span style="font-size: 0.85em; line-height: 1.5em;"></span>
 
  
 
<u>'''Ice bottles''':</u> ice bottles wrapped in paper are placed in between produce<ref name="FAO, 2009">FAO (2009) Horticultural Chain Management for Countries of Asia and the Pacific Region. [Online] Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i0782e/</ref>
 
<u>'''Ice bottles''':</u> ice bottles wrapped in paper are placed in between produce<ref name="FAO, 2009">FAO (2009) Horticultural Chain Management for Countries of Asia and the Pacific Region. [Online] Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i0782e/</ref>
 
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Revision as of 09:52, 26 January 2015

Overview

Precooling refers to the rapid removal of field heat shortly after the harvest of a crop. Field heat can be defined as the difference in temperature between the temperature of the crop harvested and the optimal storage temperature of that product. In general the temperature should be cooled down till it reaches 88% of the existing difference in temperature and its optimal storage temperature. Field heat should be removed as fast as possible since, for most produce, an hour delay at field conditions of about 35°C will lead to a loss in shelf-life of about 1 day – even at optimal storage conditions[1] [2]. Nevertheless, due to biological factors, the importance of rapid pre-cooling varies. According to the Indian Board of Horticulture[1], especially grapes, mandarins, berries, cherries, leeches, melons, stone fruits, sapotas, okra, tomatoes, capsicum, chilli peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, green beans, peas, and spinach should be rapidly pre-cooled, whereas other, less perishable produce is made up of mangoes, papaya, guava, green bananas, pomegranates, radish, cabbage, cauliflower and carrots.

More detailed information about adequate pre-cooling methods for various fresh produce items can be found here.


According to the FAO, precooling is “amongst the most efficient quality enhancements available” and is regarded “as one of the most value-adding activities in the horticultural chain”. Precooling benefits include:

  • lowering the required workload of a cold storage since optimum storage temperature is reached more quickly
  • restricting and minimizing respiratory activity, thereby conserving the weight of the produce, and enzymatic degradation of the produce harvested; thus preventing softening, water loss and wilting[3]
  • preventing microbial growth, such as bacteria and fungi thereby decreasing the rate of decay[3]
  • decreasing rate of ethylene production and the impact on ethylene sensitive produce[3]
  • delaying chilling injuries for certain fruits[4]
  • increasing the daily intake into storage facilities which should not exceed 10% of its cooling capacity if produce is not pre-cooled[3]


There are several methods that can be chosen to precool produce. Which method is the most suitable choice depends on various factors of which some are listed below:

  • Produce characteristics: characteristics of produce, such as chilling sensibility or the need for rapid heat removal, lead to differing cooling requirements making methods more or less suited. Products also differ in their flow capacity; the faster products can be cooled down, the better. Some methods cannot be tolerated by some fruits and vegetables, e.g. if they cannot get in contact with water
  • Packaging: the way produce is being packaged makes precooling methods more or less suitable
  • Scale: size of operations/amount of produce to be cooled
  • Efficiency: depending on the circumstances some methods will be more energy efficient than others
  • Skilled labor: methods require various levels of skilled and trained personnel. The availability of such trained personnel has to be considered
  • Economic viability: the price of precooling methods differ and have to be considered. This is true with regards to investment as well as running costs, e.g. electricity. In general, the cost of the pre-cooling method has to justifiable with regards to product volume and the increase in product value in order to make economic sense[3]

Regardless of which method is used, the process should always be monitored in order to ensure that precooling is achieved in the most efficient way. Depending on method and product at hand, produce will cool at different rates.

Methods

In general, there are three different methods to precool produce, using either air, water or the creation of a vacuum. Below each method and possible variations are shortly explained:

Shade

The simplest, most low cost and low technology option to reduce field heat is to move produce to a deeply shaded area directly after harvest. The temperature in packing houses, with roofs that are light colored or reflective, can reduce temperatures as much as 20°C[5].

Air cooling

Use of refrigerated air in a conventional cold storage room, a special pre-cooling room, a funnel cooler, or a forced air cooler. Air cooling can be subdivided in the methods of room cooling and forced-air cooling:

Room cooling: produce is put into a cold (refrigerated) room[3]

Advantages Very energy efficient if designed properly[3]
Challenges Very slow[3]

Produce has to be stacked properly so that the cold air can flow through the stacks[3]
Adequate for not for produce requiring immediate and rapid cooling[3]

fruits rather than vegetables

not for produce which is stored in bulk bins or containers since the temperature of produce located towards the middle of the storage bin will increase because heat generation through respiration is likely to outpace the speed heat removal[3]
citrus, apples stored under controlled atmosphere conditions, which however, will not have optimal quality if this method of pre-cooling is used[2]


Forced-air cooling: a fan is used to drive air through packed produce within a refrigerated room. The usage of the fan increases the cooling rate compared to basic room cooling. Produce should be packed and stacked in a way that allows air to flow through fast[3]


Advantages Faster than room cooling[3]
Challenges Time required for cooling depends on air temperature[3]
Adequate for Most widely used and adaptable form of pre-cooling[2]

Used for fruits and fruit-type vegetables[2]

avocado, cucumber, melon, pumpkin, banana, mango, coconut, eggplant, okra, grapes, orange, strawberry, brusselsprouts, grapefruit, papya, squash, carambola, guava, passion fruit, tangerine, cassava, kiwi, pepper tomato, cherimoya, persimmon, pineapple, pomegranate, litchi, breadfruit[3]


Water cooling

Uses water to take up the heat from harvested produce[3]. Cold or chilled water is sprayed on produce or the produce is dipped into it. Water should be able to flow through the produce rather than around it[3].


Advantages Heat is removed rapidly and about 15 times faster than if air was being used since water is a better heat transfer medium[3] [2]

can be done with a refrigerated CaCl2 solution to prevent storage disorders in fruits

no moisture loss[2]

least expensive pre-cooling method[2]
Challenges Need for clean and sanitized water to prevent microbial contamination[3]

Energy efficiency is lower than with room and forced air cooling[3]
Adequate for Commodities that can tolerate becoming wet[3]

Generally used for stem and flower type as well as root vegetables, and some tree fruits[2]
celery, peas, asparagus, Chinese cabbage pomegranate, beet, cucumber, broccoli, eggplant, radish, Brussels sprouts, green onions, spinach, cantaloupe, kiwi fruit, squash, carrot, leek, sweet corn, cassava, orange, melon and cauliflower[3] [2]
Equipment required Packaging equipment: wire-bound wooden crates, waxed fibreboard cartons, mesh poly bags and bulk bins, pallets (need to be stacked in a way that water can enter packages)[3]

Ice cooling

Ice is used to remove heat from fresh produce.

Advantages Advantageous if packages are too dense to be cooled with air[3]

Removes heat rapidly[3]

Continues to remove heat through absorption while melting

Usable during transport, distribution and storage[3]
Challenges Ice used must not contain any chemical, physical or biological hazards[3]

Inefficient since about half of the cooling effect is lost to heat exchange with the environment instead of actually contributing to cooling the produce (USAID, 2009)

Depending on the proximity of the ice-making facility and the availability of insulating packaging, losses during the transport to the cooling facility will occur (USAID, 2009)
Adequate for Produce with high respiration rates[3]
Equipment required Ice

Storage and package containers which are suited for icing applications has to remain stable if being wet, such as waxed fibreboard cartons, wooden wire-bound creates, baskets, hampers and perforated plastic liners[3]


Top icing: crushed ice is applied on the produce either manually or mechanically[3]

Adequate for Brokkoli, green onions, leafy greens, brussel sprouts, leeks, cantalpupes, parsley, carrots, peas, chinese cabbage[3]

Liquid icing: ice and water mix is injected through vents or handholds into packages. This is done without opening packages and without removing them from pallets[3]

Advantages: Can be used for small and large operations alike[3]
Challenges:
Produce gets in contact with water increasing the threat of microbial development. Sanitation is crucial. [3]

Individual package icing: crushed ice is added manually on top of the packaged produce[3]


Advantages Very simple[3]
Challenges There is the danger of produce being cooled unevenly since ice is simply put on top of packages/cartons[6]

Application of ice on every single package is labor intensive and slow and is therefore mainly applied to small operations[3]

Ice bottles: ice bottles wrapped in paper are placed in between produce[3]

Advantages Produce has no direct contact with ice[6]

Can be used during transport[6]



Vacuum cooling

temperature is reduced by placing produce in a metal cylinder in which the atmospheric pressure is reduce which leads to evaporation and a cooling effect[3].



Advantages Fast and uniform cooling method[3]
Challenges Costly for small scale enterprise

High water loss which can be prevented by adding water during the cooling process[3]
Adequate for Produce having a high surface to volume ratio[3]

Produce which cannot get in contact with water and for which using air is difficult[3]

For leafy vegetables[4]

Brussels sprouts, carrot, peas, cauliflower, snap beans, celery, spinach, chinese cabbage, sweet corn, leek, Swiss chard[3]


The table below offers and overview of the various pre-cooling methods described summarizing their cooling time, suitability for produce, cost and efficiency.

Comparison of pre-cooling methods.png


Further Information

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 National Horticulture Board (2010) Cold Storage for Fresh Horticulture Produce Requiring Pre-cooling before Storage. Haryana: Cold Chain Development Centre National Horticulture Board
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Thompson, J. F. (n.d.) Pre-cooling and Storage Facilities. [Online] Available from: http://www.ba.ars.usda.gov/hb66/precooling.pdf
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 3.18 3.19 3.20 3.21 3.22 3.23 3.24 3.25 3.26 3.27 3.28 3.29 3.30 3.31 3.32 3.33 3.34 3.35 3.36 3.37 3.38 3.39 3.40 3.41 3.42 3.43 FAO (2009) Horticultural Chain Management for Countries of Asia and the Pacific Region. [Online] Available from: http://www.fao.org/3/a-i0782e/ Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "FAO, 2009" defined multiple times with different content
  4. 4.0 4.1 Agriculture Information Bank (2009) Pre-cooling of Fruits and Vegetables. [Online] Available from: http://agriinfo.in/default.aspx?page=topic&superid=2&topicid=2048 [accessed 29th July 2014]
  5. USAID (2009) Empowering Agriculture – Energy Options for Horticulture. [Online] Available from: http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/datastore/234-1386.pdf
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Application of ice on every single package is labor intensive and slow and is therefore mainly applied to small operationsUnknown Object