SETi Extends Fresh Produce Shelf Life in China with UV LED Tech

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U.S. UV LED manufacturer, Sensor Electronic Technology, Inc.(SETi), is selling deep UV LEDs to the Chinese market to extend the life of fresh product on store shelves, reported Fresh Plaza recently.

The company is vying China’s large domestic and international fruit and vegetable market, which previously had inefficient storage and disinfection methods, said David Xu, Marketing Director from SETi.

“Currently, most disinfecting of fruits and vegetables in China is done by the use of chemicals and pesticides,” said Xu. “It would be safer for the consumer and more efficient to use UV LED technology. The electronic current released is around 2 to 3 watt and does not bring any harm to people or the product. We saw the potential of the Chinese market and dived into the opportunity."

Tests conducted by USDA that contrast strawberries life time after being exposed to different types of UV light, and those without exposure. (Photo courtesy of SETi)

The company has been supplying SETi sensor chips in the Chinese market, and offers both standardized and customized solutions to clients, explained Xu. SETi launched its business in China in November 2015 and is still at an initial product development phase that will last for another six months, and has an upbeat outlook about future developments in the Chinese market.

“ After our presence at iFresh in Shanghai in November, where we launched our new product, we received over a hundred requests from companies that are interested in our technology. In addition, CCTV, the largest media channel in China, is making a documentary about us which will be released next year,” said Xu. “I am positive about our future.”

Studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have proven UV LEDs that have a wavelength of 285nm to 305nm, or in the UVC spectrum range, are capable of raising the shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables in refrigerators, according to a company white paper. Several studies have also been made on lettuce and strawberries and results from all of the studies showed levels of polyphenol compounds can be maintained longer when exposed to UV LEDs.

The paper also noted in certain USDA studies the shelf life time of certain fresh produce was doubled with UV lights. Strawberries in particular showed markedly visible effects of prolonged shelf life time, compared to other fresh produces.

The three-year research conducted by USDA showed UV light could raise anti-oxygen capacity in fruits and vegetables, and slow down the aging process by 20% to 50%, the Fresh Plaza report quoted Xu saying. This indicates the products can last for longer periods, and the UVC lights disinfecting properties could potentially change the internal structure of fruits and vegetables.

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