How does DCA, using HarvestWatch, compare with DCA using ethanol sensing?
Expenditures - HarvestWatch has a one-time capital expenditure for chlorophyll fluorescence sensors and software. Since DCA costs are one-time capital expenditures, there are no recurring annual charges compared with other chemical-based alternatives, e.g. ethanol, and the HarvestWatch technology adds to the asset value of the storage facility.
The technical features of DCA that are appealing to users are:
• Non-destructive measurements on large surface areas can be taken of any chlorophyll-containing fruit or vegetable.
• The measurement is rapid, ca. 1 minute, and the frequency can be easily altered. The default setting is every hour.
• The method is non-chemical. It does not rely on adding any chemicals or analysing any chemicals.
• Real-time monitoring of produce allows for on-site or remote monitoring and archiving of data for future reference.
• There is no calibration needed, either before or while in operation. The sensors are very stable. Some of them are over 10 years old.
• It detects changes in the product due to senescence, decay or incorrect storage conditions, i.e. temperature, unwanted toxic gases such as ammonia refrigerant.
Its non-chemical feature makes it appealing to industrial users who wish to reduce post-harvest chemical use or store ‘organic’ product. Others have adopted it because it is a one-time capital expense that can have a pay-back period of 2-3 years, compared with repeated annual expense with competing chemical-based methods.