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Gas sensing


‘Panic buying’, food supply chains and gas sensing


Gas sensing is important in the food industry to extend the life of produce. Sensors can monitor modified atmosphere packaging and detect mould and insect infestations. In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to food shortages and highlighted that sensors in food processing are more important than ever. Edinburgh Sensors supplies gas sensors for this purpose


shelves. Large-scale lockdowns to contain the outbreak further hurt the supply of manpower and disrupted supply chains in the agricultural industry. This article looks at the ways in which gas sensing is required in the fight to keep global food chains alive. The process is crucial within many aspects of agricultural food


C


OVID-19 concerns around the world sparked widespread panic buying and empty supermarket


production, packaging and storage in order to ensure that food products last longer.


GAS SENSING WITHIN AGRICULTURE Increased consumer demand for food products leads to pressures on food production and requires increased labour and efficiency by farmers around the world. The use of gas sensors in agriculture can greatly assist food production and is paramount on many farms


within a number of different applications. For example, carbon dioxide concentration


monitoring is essential for pig and poultry farming during gas stunning. Increased gas sensing is therefore be required as demand increases for meat products. Furthermore, gas sensing is vital within vertical farming and commercial greenhouse control systems. Gas sensors can control the carbon dioxide concentration for optimal crop growth, a process which will increase the quantity and efficiency of vegetation production and protect the food supply chain. In addition, early gas detection through carbon dioxide and methane sensing is crucial to the efficiency of the anaerobic digestion process during biogas production.


GAS SENSING FOR FOOD PACKAGING The overbuying of food may be reduced by the extension of the shelf-life of products. Modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) is a process using gas sensing that is necessary for increasing the lifespan of food products, which should in turn reduce customer needs to frequently purchase so much food and increase the amount of products that can be stored by supermarkets for putting on display when shelves are empty. MAP involves the precise control of the package’s gaseous environment using gas sensing technology, which extends the shelf life of the


30 June 2020 Instrumentation Monthly


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