Luis Luchsinger Lagos: "It seems essential to break with the 7 / 8 myth of cooling"

Luis Luchsinger is an Agronomist with a mention in Fruit Production from the University of Chile and a Doctor in the specialty of Postharvest Physiology from the University of Maryland, USA, and is one of the exponents at the 7 ° International Seminar to be held at the JW Marriott of Lima, the 13 of June, exposing the topic: "Cooling, conservation and transport of blueberries".

The international specialist in postharvest handling and quality of export fruits argues that Chile, being a leading country in the export of fruits and a reference for many countries, should stand out from some common practices that are assumed to be adequate - such as slow cooling and closed containers - and become an energy efficient and effective country for the cooling, storage and transport of fresh fruit and vegetable products.

In an interview for the magazine Global Businesses, he declares that "I think it is essential to break with the 7 / 8 myth of cooling "(temperature of the initial product minus the desired final, multiplied by 7 / 8) and that the maintenance chambers are able to lower that missing 1 / 8, which flame industry "stabilize the temperature in camera", Which translates into shipping that fruit after 48 to 72 hours after being cooled.

Cooling triangle

"From my perspective and experience, this is a serious error, which causes many problems in the industry, but as practically everyone uses it, it is assumed to be correct, "states the researcher and adds:" All the agents that participate in the chain of cold should understand that refrigeration is only part of the entire chain, very different from managing the cold and its interaction with packaging / packaging and its interaction with the product to be cooled or maintained. Therefore, training in these subjects is fundamental", He emphasizes.

  • What factors affect the cooling of export fruits?
  • Three aspects are fundamental to consider in the cooling process: refrigeration equipment and the design of "pre-cold"; the design of containers and packaging; and the way to cool. All these factors must focus on the needs and characteristics of each species and type of fruit. Unfortunately, there is a great lack of coordination in this "cooling triangle".

The scientist states that it is essential to know at all times the lowest and highest air temperature in a forced air tunnel or maintenance chamber. "The fluctuation of the air at the outlet of the evaporator should be as low as possible (less than 1 ° C for systems with freon and 0,5 ° C for ammonia). For this reason, thermometry should be available, so as to avoid manual measurements", Indicates, emphasizing that the specific temperature requirements for each type of fruit are also important, so as to know the minimum safe temperature that each fruit tolerates and to cool or maintain each product with a temperature range that allows to preserve its quality by the as long as possible.

Technological innovation and energy efficiency

Professor Luchsinger works as an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural Production of the Faculty of Agronomic Sciences of the University of Chile, giving various professorships, among them "Postharvest Fruit Management", "Cold Chain Management for Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Products" and " Postharvest Physiology ”, in addition to being the Deputy Director of the Center for Postharvest Studies (CEPOC) of the University of Chile. As a result of their research and academic work, their position is among those that promote the use of the greatest and best technology in the post-harvest process, formalizing this stage at all times in a sustainable manner. In this regard, he comments that the main innovations in this field are focused on energy efficiency in refrigeration systems, both in forced air systems and in storage or transport chambers.

Source: Martín Carrillo O. - Blueberries Consulting

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