A catalytic converter for produce could prevent them spoiling so quickly.
Ethylene is a plant hormone released by fruit, vegetables and flowers that encourages ripening. It also affects surrounding fruit and vegetables, meaning they will ripen more quickly, and eventually spoil.
Japanese researchers have tackled this problem by developing a catalytic system that completely removes ethylene from the air. A system, which could be used to keep warehouses and other storage areas ethylene-free – meaning fruit will last longer and be less likely to spoil.
Previous methods for removing ethylene have been expensive, complex or ineffective. Finding a suitable catalyst was also unsuccessful due to the low temperature at which the process needs to occur. That was, up until Atsushi Fukuoka and his colleagues tested various metals until they found one that worked – a supporting structure made of mesoporous silicon dioxide with a top layer of platinum nanoparticles.
The discovery could mean lower operating costs for storage facilities and even a domestic version that could make it easier to store fruits for an extended period of time.