Recently, the Food Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) predicted that the world population would top eight billion by the year 2030. Therefore, the demand for food would increase dramatically. According to the report, crop output is projected to be 70 percent higher in 2030 than current output. Fruits and vegetables will play an important role in providing essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibre to the world, feeding populations in both developed and developing countries. However, during postharvest storage, transport and distribution, losses up to 50% occur. Currently, ‘controlled atmosphere systems’ (CA systems) are the state-of-the-art agricultural storage methods in which the concentrations of oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, as well as the temperature and humidity of a storage room are empirically determined and often suboptimal resulting in more losses than expected.
Optiflux has developed and patented an innovative and non-chemical system to optimize the controlled atmosphere gas composition to the needs of the product being stored or transported, by measuring fruit respiration. With Optiflux dynamic controlled atmosphere (DCA) storage, the oxygen level in the storage facility is gradually decreased until, based on measurement of respiration of the fruit, low oxygen stress is detected. Subsequently, the oxygen level is slightly increased until relief of low oxygen stress. In this way, the fruit is stored at the lowest oxygen level possible resulting in maximal quality preservation without development of disorders and off-flavors.
To evaluate the effect of OptifluxTM technology on post-storage quality of apple fruit, a pilot infrastructure was built in collaboration with the Postharvest Group of KU Leuven and the Flanders Centre of Postharvest Technology (VCBT). Long term storage experiments complemented with extensive shelf life exposure were conducted for various apple cultivars, including scald-sensitive and quickly softening cultivars such as ‘Granny Smith’ and ‘Golden Delicious’ apple fruit, ‘Conference’ pear fruit, ‘Liberty’ blueberry fruit and ‘Kordia’ sweet cherry.
A full list of scientific publications about OptifluxTM technology can be found here.
The product consists of an add-on hardware module that can be installed on existing cold stores and that collects measurement data of oxygen, carbon dioxide, ethylene and temperatures and sends it digitally to the cloud. A schematic representation of the hardware setup is given in the figure below.
Based on the gathered data in the cloud, Optiflux offers three SaaS modules:
WatchDog: collecting and user-friendly display of the measured oxygen, carbon dioxide and temperature in a clear dashboard on the basis of lists and graphs. Possibility to set alarm thresholds and notifications in case of deviation via e-mail & SMS. Ability to efficiently enter manual control measurements on gas composition and temperature. Ability to flexibly export data in the form of tables and graphs for reporting and reports.
Storage Insights: This module uses mathematical models that describe the change in the quality of the fruit (such as firmness and color) based on the initial quality of the batch at harvest and the measured gas composition and temperature. On the basis of this module, it can be determined which batches are suitable for short, medium and long storage, allowing informed decisions to be made about when to open which cold store. Measurements and graphs related to the quality prediction of the fruit are also displayed in the dashboard of the web application and it is possible to set alarms and be informed when a batch reaches the predefined quality limit.
OptiControl: With OptiControl DCA, the oxygen level in the cold store is gradually lowered, until it is detected on the basis of fruit respiration that the fruit is experiencing low oxygen stress. Then the oxygen level is increased slightly until this low oxygen stress disappears. In this way, the fruit is stored at the lowest possible oxygen level, which leads to maximum preservation of quality, without introducing taste or storage disorders. This technology allows apples and pears to be stored all year round and can also be used for the soft fruit, e.g. berries.
More info: Learn more.
Preserve key quality attributes such as firmness and color as good as with chemical treatment with ripening inhibitors such as 1-MCP up to 12 months of storage.
Avoid losses due to occurrance of storage disorders such as rot or superficial scald in a non-chemical way. Use our OptiShelf service to simulate shelf life duration in the expected coldchain.
Due to decreaing respiratory heat production, our technology reduces energy consumption by 20% at conventional temperature. Our technology enables storage at 3°C higher temperature than usual, resulting in 30% energy reduction.
Safeguard your facility with the most accurate and reliable gas analysis system on the market. Manage your storage facility using Optiflux Storage Insights.
Access and control your OptifluxTM systems everywhere, anytime from any device. Manage your storage facility from the Optiflux Dashboard
Our technology is protected with patents valid in all major fruit producing countries worldwide.
08/07/2021 - OPTIFLUX RAISES 600.000 EURO CAPITAL
Optiflux, developer of an innovative method to preserve fruit better after harvesting, is raising 600,000 euros from the Limburg Investment Company LRM, Gemma Frisius Fund (GFF), KU Leuven, the Belgian Fruit Auction (BFV), BelOrta and the founders. The company is active in the agrotech sector and was founded at the beginning of this year as a spin-off of the MeBioS Postharvest group. Optiflux has developed a measuring system and associated software that make it possible to dynamically check and adjust the storage conditions for fruit, without radically adapting the existing storage location and installation. The prototypes are currently being tested on a large scale at the BFV and BelOrta packing houses. The innovative measurement and control system is the result of years of research at KU Leuven, in collaboration with the Flanders Center of Postharvest Technology (VCBT) and the Association of Belgian Horticultural Cooperatives (VBT). Optiflux technology is based on respiration models of fruit and allows to determine the best storage conditions and to predict the quality of the fruit. Based on this, fruit producers and traders can make an informed decision about the best timing to sell a batch of fruit. In this first capital round, Optiflux raises 600,000 euros from LRM, GFF, KU Leuven, BFV, BelOrta and the founders Niels Bessemans, Pieter Coppens, Pieter Verboven and Bart Nicolaï. Click to read the full press release.
28/01/2021 - SMART HUB VLAAMS-BRABANT AWARDS SUBSIDY OF €102.770 TO DigiFruit PROJECT
We are happy to announce that on January 28 - 2021, the DigiFruit project was selected to receive an innovation subsidy of the province of Flemish Brabant. The subsidy will accelerate Optiflux' hardware development and support installation of first systems with project partners. Read the press release.
27/03/2020 - Optiflux selected for Start it @ KBC accelerator program!
Great news! On March 27 - 2020, Optiflux was selected by a jury of experts to participate the business accelerator program of Start it @ KBC! Read the press release.