Storing fresh fruits and vegetables for longer: Low-temperature ethylene oxidation catalyst

Posted by Markus from ClariantResponsive · Innovative Products and Technologies · Switzerland

Summary of the technology

The perishable nature of food presents a major problem for storage and transport over long distances. Food spoilage in particular has huge impacts: According to the Save Food Initiative, up to 40 percent of the globally produced food spoils during transport and distribution.

Ripening fruit, vegetables, and flowers release ethylene – which behaves like a plant hormone. Our technology offers a means to prolong the shelf-life of fresh fruits and vegetables by slowing down the ripening processes. It works by combusting the ripening gas ethylene at low temperatures using a proprietary catalyst, which is capable to decompose the phytohormone ethylene from -20 °C on. Thus, it can, for instance, retain the freshness of green vegetables when embedded in the vegetable box of a refrigerator. The catalyst is applied as a permanent component and does not need regeneration or replacement.


Description of the technology

New catalyst from metal particles loaded on specially designedmesoporous silica. Whereas prior catalysts were not active at low temperatures,this technology is capable of decomposing ethylene gas into carbon dioxide even in the low-temperature environment of a refrigerator.In contrastto other systems (such asphotocatalysts), no additional energy or irradiation is needed –only air. Furthermore,the catalystcan potentially break down other hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at ambient conditions.

Desired business relationship

Joint ventures

Technology development

New technology applications

Adaptation of technology to other markets

Current development status

Working prototypes

Technology Owner


Large Enterprise

Related keywords

  • Industrial manufacturing, Material and Transport Technologies
  • Industrial Technologies
  • Clean Industrial Technologies
  • Household Goods & Appliances
  • Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Agrofood Industry
  • Technologies for the food industry
  • Food quality and safety
  • Food Microbiology / Toxicology / Quality Control
  • Measurements and Standards
  • Electronics Related Market
  • Consumer related
  • Food and Beverages
  • Industrial Products
  • Chemicals and Materials
  • Other speciality chemicals
  • Fruit and Vegetables

About Clariant

Large Enterprise from Switzerland

Clariant is a globally leading specialty chemical company and stands out for above-average value creation for all stakeholders. We develop sustainable and innovative solutions for many industries. Our portfolio is designed to meet very specific needs with as much precision as possible. At the same time, our research and development is focused on addressing the key trends of our time. These include energy efficiency, renewable raw materials, emission-free mobility, and conserving finite resources. For Clariant, sustainability is a prerequisite to entrepreneurial thinking. Development, innovation, procurement, manufacturing and customer benefits – there are starting points for more sustainable business everywhere.

Clariant is active in three key focus Business Areas: Care Chemicals, Catalysis, and Natural Resources. We have a broad geographical footprint with close to 50% of sales coming from emerging markets. The majority of the end-markets have inherent growth drivers.

– Care Chemicals comprises Industrial & Consumer Specialties and New Business Development activities as well as the future industrial biotechnology business. It follows lifestyle-driven megatrends. Innovative developments like sugar-based surfactants for personal care as well as biofuel made from agricultural residues or crop protection adjuvants produced from renewable oils rank high in their respective market segments and strengthen our position as a supplier of sustainable products.

– Catalysis develops, manufactures and sells a wide range of catalysts for the petrochemicals, plastics and refining industries. Its main business drivers are improving chemical process efficiency, enabling the use of alternative feedstocks (natural gas, coal and biomass) and developing environmentally compatible catalytic solutions which e.g. reduce harmful greenhouse gases.

– Natural Resources, consisting of the businesses Oil & Mining Services and Functional Minerals, is characterized by high growth, low cyclicality and a strong orientation towards promising industry trends. From bentonite for oil refining to natural molding sand additives with Low Emission technology, we create special chemicals which help to keep the global economic engine fueled.

In order to leverage synergies across all Business Areas and create greater transparency, Clariant’s research and development is based on four technology platforms: Chemistry & Materials, Biotechnology, Process Technology, and Catalysis. Here, the forward-looking chemical technologies are combined with custom-made and sustainable solutions, using holistic and innovative process development.

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