Steps Included In Banana Ripening Process
What is Banana Ripening?
Ripening is a genetically programmed phenomenon where many biochemical changes take place such as softening, pigment changes, aroma and flavour volatile production, reduction in astringency, and many others. Banana is a climatic fruit. That is why induced ripening is required for large-scale commercial banana cultivation and distribution in order to maintain flavour, texture, and uniform peel colour with the help of Banana Ripening Cold Rooms or Chamber.
Some of the commercial ripening agents that are used are ethylene gas, acetylene gas liberated from calcium carbide, and ethephon.
Why are Bananas need to be Ripened Artificially?
Bananas need to be ripened artificially in a Banana Ripening Chamber because they have to be travelled larger distances before it reaches the consumers. If the fruits are naturally ripened, then the soft-ripened fruits will get damaged during the journey before it reaches the consumers.
The Banana Ripening Chamber maintains a controlled environment that helps to get the right colour of the banana. The process which takes place in ripening the bananas artificially by ethylene is similar to the way in which the fruit ripens naturally in the plant.
Steps that are included in the Banana Ripening Process:
- Green bananas that come in cartons or open crates are kept in the Banana Ripening Cold Room. The temperature of fruit pulp should not be below 14 degrees C, as the low temperature can damage the fruit.
- The Banana Ripening Cold Room is closed and the temperature is controlled and maintained by a thermostat until the pulp temperature reaches 15-17 degrees C.
- The Banana Ripening Chamber is kept closed 24 hours after ethylene is given in the room at a concentration of around 100 – 400 ppm ( 0.01 – 0.04% ). The ethylene serves as a catalyst that begins the hormonal process of ripening.
- The Banana Ripening Cold Room is properly ventilated to clean the ethylene gas and the carbon dioxide released as a result of increased res[piration during the initial ripening phase.
- The room temperature is maintained between 17 degrees C to 15 degrees C for the next 3 to 4 days. The temperature of fruit pulp may reach 32 degrees C during this process, and gases like carbon dioxide are liberated in substantial quantities. These gases would be taken out by ripening room operators to maintain the carbon dioxide level below 1%, as carbon dioxide level above 15 stops further ripening.
- The Banana Ripening Chamber is then ventilated and the ripe bananas are removed from the room. A simple method of ventilating is opening the doors for at least five to fifteen minutes before one can enter. Extraction fans are also used for ventilation.
Banana ripening cold room must have the following:
- The room must be air-tight so that ethylene must not be leaked out.
- The room must be properly ventilated for controlling the temperature within a few degrees.
- The room must have proper refrigeration to control the pulp temperature.
- The room must have heating equipment for maintaining temperature in cold weather.
- The room must have proper air circulation.