African Journal of
Food Science

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Food Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0794
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJFS
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 903

Full Length Research Paper

Performance of a fabricated solar-powered vapour compression cooler in maintaining post-harvest quality of French beans in Kenya

Ogumo, E. O.
  • Ogumo, E. O.
  • Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Technology, University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Kunyanga, C. N.
  • Kunyanga, C. N.
  • Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Technology, University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Kimenju, J.
  • Kimenju, J.
  • Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection, University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Okoth, M.
  • Okoth, M.
  • Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Technology, University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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  •  Received: 15 May 2020
  •  Accepted: 21 July 2020
  •  Published: 31 August 2020

Abstract

The quality and shelf life of French beans can be affected within hours of harvesting if the produce is not cooled after harvest. Solar-powered cooling systems are suitable for use in rural areas that are not connected to the grid. This study aimed at developing a solar powered cooling system to improve the quality of French beans in smallholder farms in Kenya. Freshly harvested French beans were stored under conventional field shed conditions and a solar-powered prototype cooler, after which weight and temperature were measured at intervals of 2 h and later packed in modified, atmosphere packaging bags. The bags were stored for 7 days in a cold room. Accumulated gas levels of oxygen and CO2 in the packaging bags were measured at the end of the shelf life. Significant differences (P≤0.05) in weight loss between produce stored in the conventional shed and those in the solar cooler prototype were observed. The weight of French beans reduced by 5 and 2.8% after 7 h under a conventional field shed and a fabricated solar cooler respectively. The volume of CO2 and O2 released from produce stored in a conventional shed and those in a fabricated solar cooler prototype were significantly different (P≤0.05).
 
Key words: Conventional cooling method, French beans, temperature, solar cooler, weight loss.