Big water savings from new fruit & veg peeling system

Wednesday 18 August 2010

A new peeling system for fruit and vegetables, based on air not water, under development at California State University, Fresno, could cut significantly processing costs and remove the problem and expense of dealing with waste water.

Developed by California State University professor Gour Choudhury, the new processing system uses air to blast peel off fruit and vegetables. A specialist in food processing systems, Choudhury estimates that the technology could cut fruit and vegetable companies’ water use by up to 80 per cent, saving tens of thousands of euros each year.

Choudhury told “We did a commercial prototype run last year, and it worked very well. We are doing a full-scale commercial run this year.”

Waste water discharge
According to the patent application filed by Choudhury with the US Patent and Trademark Office: “Using air to remove the loosened peel instead of the conventional use of water significantly reduces the freshwater requirements and substantially reduces the quantity of wastewater discharge with very low concentration of contaminants.”

The technology focuses on the initial use of caustic fluid and/or steam to weaken the connection between the peel and the flesh of the produce. “Once the peel has been sufficiently loosened from the flesh, forced air may be applied to the surface of the produce to remove the loosened peel and any residual caustic fluid,” according to the application.

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