Monitoring Ethylene (C2H4) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in Ripening Rooms

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As fruit and vegetables ripen, they release ethylene, a naturally occurring growth hormone. To be profitable and meet demands, commercial fresh produce companies need to speed up the ripening process in a uniform and predictable way, which is achieved by adding more ethylene in a controlled environment. Typically the fresh produce is placed in air-tight ripening rooms and ethylene is introduced at concentrations between 10 and 1,000 ppm depending on the type of produce. Ethylene is not harmful to humans in the concentrations used in ripening rooms, however it is an extremely reactive and flammable gas, making the potential for an explosion a safety concern.

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