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The PQC is working with Ozone Industries Ltd and MAPCAP Ltd to optimise a system for using ozone flushing of retail packs to extend the shelf-life of strawberries. Ozone; O3, is one of the most powerful oxidants on earth, and very effective for destroying micro-organisms (fungi, bacteria and viruses). Ozone is not persistent, as it reverts to oxygen, leaving no residues, thus avoiding the regulatory and other issues posed by conventional post-harvest biocide treatments. Another advantage of using gaseous ozone is that it avoids wetting the fruit which would encourage fungal growth.

In 2020, with funding from Innovate UK a series of pilot studies were carried out using an experimental system which demonstrated that ozone flushing of retail packs could extend the shelf-life of UK strawberries by 1-2 days. The consortium are now applying for funding to develop the technology into a cost-effective commercial system that can be incorporated directly into the packing line. We are also testing the potential of this technology for a range of other commodities, including raspberries, tomatoes and grapes.

We would like to thank Berry Gardens and Berry World for their help with this work.

For more information on this work contact Debbie Rees This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.