Vegetables and fruit respire; they take in oxygen (O2) and give off carbon dioxide (CO2). The storage of fruit and vegetables in a gas-tight environment allows the oxygen level in the air to be lowered and the level of CO2 to increase. Long-term storage of vegetables and fruit actually involves inhibiting the ripening and ageing processes, thus retaining flavour and quality. Ripening is, in fact, postponed. This occurs as a result of modifying the gas conditions in the cool cell so that the respiration of fruit and vegetables is reduced.
Controlled Atmosphere (CA) is a storage technique whereby the level of oxygen is reduced and CO2 is increased. Quality and the freshness of fruit andvegetables are retained under Controlled Atmosphere conditions without the use of any chemicals. Under CA conditions, many products can be stored for 2 to 4 times longer than usual.