Oxyion represents a waste-free technology for fruit and vegetable post-harvest processes.
Fruit Today euromagazine had the chance to talk to Joaquín Rey, the chairman of the company Oxyion Europa. This veteran businessman, who has devoted 35 years to the world of marketing, will bring his knowledge to this new technology and production challenge, with its food safety factor that makes it stand out.
Can you explain what this technology consists of when applied to fruit and vegetables?
In our sector we have obtained an increase in productivity per hectare to become more competitive, more kilos of production, varieties that can travel further, from the southern hemisphere to the northern and vice versa. We are even managing to make ecological produce eye-catching and tastier again… What was missing? Safety, no waste, ensuring that food safety during production is increasing and this carries on to the point of sale and the consumer, guaranteeing that there are no cross-contaminations, or evolution of fungi, bacteria or virus that could have a negative effect on the shelf life of the produce or, obviously, the consumer.
As I understand, it is a simple technology to apply, where air plays an essential role because it turns into the disinfectant and no chemical elements need to be used. Is that right?
Indeed, our differentiating point is that we use the air itself as a decontaminating element, transforming the oxygen molecule into reactive oxygen species that reduces the microbiological load of the environment where it is installed through a filtering, reaction, diffusion and mixing process, even in the air or temperature channelling ducts, with zero waste, and chemical-free.
Often we forget that fruit and vegetables breathe. How does this technology affect respiration and ethylene? Is it meant to be highly suitable for long transits?
Fruit and vegetables are living beings; Oxyion’s commitment is to provide a comprehensive solution to the world of food to make the air that is in contact with these into environmental protection insurance, free from microorganisms and volatile compounds, such as ethylene, a hormone that accelerates ripening and ageing. When Oxyion is used to eliminate ethylene, in pre-cooling and transport, we obtain a longer lifespan of the produce in both long and short journeys, as well as an increase in its shelf life.
Have you determined what working with or without Oxyion can mean in volumes for a company?
We can make valuations from outside, but the company itself has the figures and should quantify the benefit of reaching markets that are further away than normal, with produce that has no microorganisms that can cause waste and therefore, rejections at the destination. We have studies carried out by independent technological centres that determine three or four days more of life for strawberries and berries or seven weeks of marketable firmness in kiwis.
The risks of contamination by bacteria or microbes are particularly important, not only from the commercial point of view, but also for health reasons. How does this technology help in these cases?
We have taken great care in the chain of value to ensuring there are some good agricultural practices in production and food safety, which are efficient and environmentally-friendly. Once this had been achieved, we moved towards the next step: Zero Waste, Zero Kilometres, produce that is more ecological. Following this, we have become interested in meeting consumers’ requirements of eating healthy, tasty produce. The last step is to make these foods safe. In order to do this, we work with the Oxyion system in the areas where they are stored, transported and sold, to prevent cross-contaminations and give the foods a longer shelf life. This becomes another way of fighting against food waste.
We help to make these environments safe; we help to move onwards and to achieve goals.