Sensor Electronic Technology Inc reports that LEDs in the UVB spectral band can double the shelf life of refrigerated produce after a study based on strawberries that was conducted with the USDA.
Sensor Electronic Technology Inc (SETi) has announced the results of a three-year research program, conducted with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), that prove ultraviolet (UV) LED lighting is an effective technique in extending the shelf life of produce. Strawberries in a refrigerator that were continuously lit with LEDs in the 280–315-nm UVB wavelength range exhibited no mold or decay after nine days.
SETi believes the research will lead to a fundamental change in the consumer appliance business. "Findings of this exciting program are expected to have a major impact on the appliance business to extend the shelf life and preserve nutritional value of the fresh produce," said Remis Gaska, president and CEO of SETi.
UV LEDs are an especially good match to the application inside refrigerators, according to SETi. Because LEDs can be turned on and off instantly, appliance makers could design a refrigerator in which the UV lighting is turned on only when the door is closed. Moreover, the LEDs generate little heat and in fact operate more efficiently in the cool environment.
In addition, the energy efficiency of LEDs means that a refrigerator equipped with such lighting would use little additional energy. The research project used only 20 mW/m2 of radiometric power. Gaska added, "We look forward to the prospect of UV LEDs in residential refrigerators impacting on everyday life and reducing waste through spoilage."