Dynamic Controlled Atmosphere (DCA) storage of fruit with HarvestWatch technology provides the marketplace with high quality fruit without the use of chemicals
Chlorophyll, a pigment found in all higher plants, is a fluorophore. This image of spinach chlorophyll dissolved in solution shows how chlorophyll fluoresces red
The HarvestWatch™ system is a specialised fluorometer developed by Dr. Robert Prange and colleagues (AAFC and Satlantic Inc., Nova Scotia, Canada) and distributed by Isolcell Italia S.p.A. It uses fluorescence (Fα) to let storage operators know when their fruit are stressed
FIRM sample chamber (kennel)
A typical HarvestWatch system with multiple hubs and sensors
Six chlorophyll fluorescence (HarvestWatch) FIRM kennels in a commercial apple DCA store room
DCA using the HarvestWatch system controls superficial scald in apples and pears
This new technology was developed and patented in Canada in 2001 by a research team led by Dr. Robert Prange and Dr. John DeLong. Further research evaluation was conducted internationally, especially by Dr. Angelo Zanella of the Agricultural Research Institute Laimburg Italy which led to commercialisation in the U.S.A and Italy in 2003-2004.
The technology detects stress, e.g., low oxygen, by continuously monitoring changes in the chlorophyll fluorescence of the stored product. The major application of HarvestWatch technology is in dynamic controlled atmosphere-chlorophyll fluorescence (DCA-CF) storage of fruits and vegetables.
By the end of 2015, close to 1/2 million tonnes of apples and pears were being stored in >1680 DCA-CF rooms in >15 countries worldwide.