How does it work ?

MAX FRESH Technology

  • First industrial prototype MAX FRESH
  • volatiles Max Fresh

The technology of MAX FRESH to detect gasses / volatiles, is based on MID-INFRARED adsorption. By measuring emitted volatiles and monitoring the trend of these volatiles (VOC's)  during storage , we are able to get a fingerprint of the quality of the stored fruits and vegetables. Based on daily measurements , the decision-making-model of Max Fresh gives relevant information about : 

  • the stage of ripening / sensecense of the fruit 
  • the decomposition / rot development during storage
  • the point of anaerobic fermentation (ACP) 
Each unique selling point is explained in the paragraphs below . 

Safeguarding fruit quality - ripening

The MAX FRESH system is able to detect relevant volatiles which are produced by the process of ripening such as ethylene.  By measuring each storage room on a daily basis, the system provides an accurate overview / trend of the maturation / senescence of the fruit. The decision-making-model based on the Max Fresh measurements, provides  the storage operator an excellent tool to (re)act  in time to prevent significant loss of quality . 

Generally, fleshy fruits can be divided into two groups based on the presence or absence of a respiratory increase at the onset of ripening. This respiratory increase -- which is proceeded, or accompanied, by a rise in ethylene -- is called a climacteric, and there are marked differences in the development of climacteric and non-climacteric fruits. Climacteric fruit can be either monocots or dicots and the ripening of these fruits can still be achieved even if the fruit has been harvested at the end of their growth period. Non-climacteric fruits ripen without ethylene and respiration bursts, the ripening process is slower, and for the most part they will not be able to ripen if the fruit is not attached to the parent plant.

Decomposition / Rot detection 

  • decomposition
  • decomposition trend
  • removal of rotten apples
Food losses or decomposition of food, after harvest can range from 10 to 30%, owing to a variety of mircroorganisms such as bacteria, molds and yeasts along with natural decay of the food. that degrade the food during transportation and storage. In addition to these direct losses due to spoiling, several bacteria generate natural poisons that make foods unsuitable for human ingestion.  These decomposition bacteria reproduce at rapid rates under conditions of moisture and preferred temperatures. When the proper conditions are lacking the bacteria may form spores which lurk until suitable conditions arise to continue reproduction. During the process of decomposition, CO2, water, heat but also specific gasses (so called VOC's) are produced,  shown in figure 1 . By measuring the daily production of decomposition relevant volatiles during storage, sudden changes or trends can be related with the stage of decomposition. The technology of Max Fresh , which is in kind of a electronic nose, we are able to detect and monitor these volatiles giving the storage-operator a perfect tool to avoid significant food losses. During an experiment with two CA containers  filled with ELSTAR apples we were able to detect and monitor the decomposition of apples during 8 weeks upto a level of 6,8%  rotting , as shown in figure 2. Based on these measurements, the storage-operator could decide to open the CA-storage room earlier to prevent significant losses.  The second experiment , figure 3, shows the impact by removing the rotten apples , from two research containers. As the rotten fruits were removed , the level of volatiles immediately drops at much lower levels. 

Safe and secure DCA Storage 

Storing the product at the lowest possible oxygen level (Dynamic Controlled Atmosphere) has significant advantages as explained by Researcher Mathijs Montsma in the video . But storing at the point of anaerobic fermentation (ACP)  can induce the production of ethanol in the fruit.  Anaerobic fermentation should be avoid because of irriversable damage such as a loss of taste. By measuring the level of ethanol (the only direct marker of anaerobic fermentation) on a daily basis, the fruits can be stored at the lowest possible oxygen level without any risk of unwanted ethanol causing loss of taste. The effect of ultra low oxgygen on kiwi's ,causing anaerobic fermentation is shown in figure below. 

Anaerobic fermentation experiment Max Fresh with kiwi's.


In a world of seven billion people, set to grow to nine billion by 2050, wasting food makes no sense – economically, environmentally and ethically, aside from the cost implications, all the land, water, fertilisers and labour needed to grow that food is wasted – not to mention the generation of greenhouse gas emissions produced by food decomposing on landfill and the transport of food that is ultimately thrown away.” 

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary - General and UNEP Executive Director