J.-B. Cazier, V. Gekas, T. Nilsson
To retail fruits and vegetables with a fresh-like appearance to the consumer is a marketing as well as horticultural challenge. This is especially true for some chilling sensitive commodities for which it is not possible to slow down the degradation process by lowering the storage temperature under a certain limit.

A method like the Modified Atmosphere Packaging described by Kader et al. can reduce the senescence and other degradation of the fresh produce. Moreover the addition of a physical barrier between a commodity and its surrounding environment minimise the risk of water losses. But applying any type of film may be harmful to the produce as the two effects do not always work together as time and surrounding conditions evolves: On one hand, a too high amount of water vapour inside the package may create condensation which ruins the modified atmosphere effect. On the other hand, a too tight gas barrier may induce dangerous level of O2 and/or CO2. Methods for the prediction of film permeability has been presented by Cameron et al.

It is important to be able to model through the time the evolution and interaction of both phenomena at any spatial location of the domain, like fruits wrapped in packaging films. This study describes the modelling of water losses by fresh fruits and vegetables in complex geometry through the time according to different compositions of the surrounding atmosphere. The water loss model is the first step to a more exhaustive study including temperature, O2, CO2 and C2H4 altogether in the same system.

The importance of the geometry will be taken into account by the use of the Finite Element Method as described by Segerlind. A recent study by Puri and Anantheswaran points that this method is not used is the food industry as much as it could. The complexity of the phenomena and shapes involved would indeed find a great advantage in the finite element method.

Cazier, J.-B., Gekas, V. and Nilsson, T. (1998). FINITE ELEMENT MODEL OF THE WATER LOSSES BY FRESH PRODUCES. Acta Hortic. 476, 299-306
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1998.476.34
Modelling, Finite Element, Transpiration, Post-Harvest, Quality, Cucumber

Acta Horticulturae