A group of scientists from U.S.-based Sensor Electronic Technology, Inc. (SETi) has found a way to extend the shelf life of fresh fruits and vegetables stored in home refrigerators using special lighting, the UV LED developer reported.
The researchers, in collaboration with the Food Components and Health Laboratory, demonstrated that strawberries exposed to extended periods of low UV radiation, low temperatures and high humidity were slower to decompose.
These same conditions can be created in a home refrigerator using “light-emitting diodes” or LED lighting.
According to the study, consumers can keep their produce fresh for longer using a new device that incoropates LED lighting that puts off UV rays similar to those found in sunlight.
Chief investigator Steven Britz explained that the technology developed by SETi seeks to refine the light emitted by LEDs to fit lengths more suited for this application.
“LED-UV light allowed us to test low-power devices that function well in the cold and can be designed to work in small spaces like refrigerator compartments,” he said.
In previous studies, traditional ultraviolet light was tested on product storage but resulted in high levels of dehydration.
For the current study, fruit purchased at the grocery store was used. One lot was stored in a dark refrigerator and another was stored in a refrigerator with UV-LED lighting. Berries under the special lighting lasted for 9 days without mold.
SETi CEO Remis Gaska said the company hopes these discoveries will have a larger business impact on home appliances, to extend shelf life and a reduce waste.