GOOD GROWING OPERATION
With the ever increasing yield and automation of farms, storage of produce becomes an integral part of any good growing operation. A controlled atmosphere is an agricultural storage method in which the concentration of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen, as well as the temperature and humidity of a storage room are tightly regulated.
Dry commodities such as grains, legumes, and oilseed, are stored in a controlled atmosphere primarily to control insect pests. Most insects cannot survive indefinitely without oxygen or in conditions of raised (<30%) carbon dioxide.
The long-term storage of vegetables and fruit involves inhibiting the ripening and ageing processes, thus retaining flavor and quality. Ripening is delayed by reducing the level of oxygen and increasing that of carbon dioxide in the cool cell so that the respiration is reduced. Under controlled atmosphere conditions the quality and the freshness of fruit and vegetables are retained, and many products can be stored for 2 to 4 times longer than usual.
The method is most commonly used on apples and pears, where the combination of altered atmospheric conditions and reduced temperature allow prolonged storage with only a slow loss of quality.
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