Frequently Asked Questions about SmartFresh



Q.  What is SmartFresh?
  SmartFresh post-harvest technology slows the natural fruit-ripening process, extending the quality of fruit from the time it is picked to when it is sold in the store. It is part of the fruit quality management program from AgroFresh.

Q.  What is the history of SmartFresh technology?
  The science behind SmartFresh resulted from research done in the mid-1990s at North Carolina State University (United States) to study the naturally occurring plant substance ethylene and how it affected the ripening process in fruit. During their work, researchers discovered 1-MCP, the active ingredient in SmartFresh technology.

Q. Why is SmartFresh used with apples?
After apples are picked, most are placed in storage before they are sold at the store. Apple growers use SmartFresh to maintain the color, taste and crispness of apples from just after they are picked until they are eaten. This allows for more locally grown apples to be in the store throughout the year, decreases the number of apples thrown away and reduces carbon footprint since less energy input is required during storage.  

Q.  How does SmartFresh work?
SmartFresh protects the just-picked quality of apples by temporarily slowing down the ripening process. It works by blocking the naturally occurring ethylene receptors, thus, preventing ethylene from degrading the fruit.  Apples naturally produce ethylene. Ethylene is responsible for the ripening process that makes apples (and other fruit varieties) change color and develop flavor, but is also responsible for aging the fruit and causing the fruit to soften, become mealy and rot.

Q.  Are SmartFresh quality apples safe to eat?
Yes. SmartFresh quality apples are safe to eat. SmartFresh is nontoxic. Studies show it poses no risk to humans, animals or the environment, when used as recommended. SmartFresh has been rigorously tested to meet the strict requirements for registration by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and European Union Regulation 1107/2009.

Q.  Does SmartFresh leave residues on apples?
  No. SmartFresh leaves no detectable residues in the environment or on the fruit, when used as recommended.

Q.  Does SmartFresh affect the nutritional value of apples?
  SmartFresh maintains the nutritional value of just-picked apples. In fact, scientific studies show that apples with SmartFresh contain 10 percent more Vitamin C than apples without SmartFresh.(1) The reason is that after apples are picked, the antioxidant content declines slowly. SmartFresh slows the natural ripening process, thus slowing the decline of nutrients in the apple.

(1) Neuwald and Streif. 2010. Kompetenzzentrum Obstbau-Bodensee.

Q.  Is SmartFresh a pesticide?
Yes. SmartFresh is a pesticide. The active ingredient in SmartFresh, 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP), is categorized as a plant growth regulator and regulated by the U.S. EPA in the Biopesticide Division.

Q.  Is SmartFresh used on organic fruit?
  SmartFresh is not used for organic fruit. At this time, SmartFresh does not qualify for the U.S. Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) listing.

Q.  Are SmartFresh apples GMOs?
No. SmartFresh apples (or other fruits) are not genetically modified.

Q.  What is a plant growth regulator?
Plant growth regulators are substances that influence how plants grow. They are commonly used in today's agricultural food production practices.

Q.  What is a biopesticide?
According to EPA, biopesticides are certain types of pesticides derived from natural materials, such as animals, plants, bacteria and certain minerals. For example, canola oil and baking soda(2) are considered biopesticides.

(2) Environmental Protection Agency. 2016. What are Biopesticides?

Q.  How does SmartFresh benefit the apple industry?
SmartFresh helps protect the just-picked quality of apples, reducing the amount of fruit loss and limiting the resources — land, water, equipment, energy, transportation— that currently go to waste. It can help both large and small apple growers bring more high-quality fruit to the local market throughout the year.

Q.  How does SmartFresh reduce fruit waste?
By maintaining the just-picked quality of apples, SmartFresh helps reduce losses from the orchard to your home. This allows for more locally grown apples to be in the store throughout the year and decreases the number of apples thrown away.

Q.  How does SmartFresh help manage energy costs?
SmartFresh can help bring orchard growers significant energy savings, regardless of their fruit storage program. Recent studies show that adding SmartFresh to controlled atmosphere (CA) storage can improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon footprint without compromising fruit quality. Many storage practices require a higher use of energy to run equipment needed to adjust and monitor levels in the storage room, such as oxygen and temperature. With SmartFresh, energy efficiency is notably higher when combined with adjustments in the storage practice.

Q.  How is SmartFresh applied to apples?
  After apples are placed in a storage room, the door is closed. SmartFresh is then mixed with plain water and is released into the air of the storage room. After application, the active ingredient biodegrades naturally into CO2 and water, leaving no detectable residues.

Q.  What alternate solutions to SmartFresh are available to growers looking to maintain apple quality?
There are currently no alternate products to SmartFresh for maintaining the quality of fruit throughout the supply chain.  Most apples in the U.S. are placed in controlled atmosphere (CA) storage for up to six to eight months after they are harvested. CA storage is a proven and effective method for storing apples and other types of produce; however, after apples are removed from CA storage to be delivered to the store, they can quickly lose that just-picked quality and fruit can go to waste. CA storage also requires a higher use of energy to run equipment required to adjust and monitor levels in the storage room, such as oxygen and temperature. With SmartFresh, the quality of apples is protected while in storage and during transportation, display and consumption. SmartFresh can be paired with current CA storage practices and added to regular atmosphere (RA) storage practices to benefit apple growers of all sizes and varieties.

Q.  What crops can SmartFresh be used on?
SmartFresh is effective on climacteric fruits, and around the world the technology is used to protect quality in apples, pears, persimmons, melons, tomatoes, papayas, peaches, tomatoes, avocados, mangoes, limes, plums and kiwis. Registration for use is determined in each country by crop.


Q.  Why should I use SmartFresh™ technology in my operation?
A.  You can trust SmartFresh to keep your fruit at peak quality from storage all the way to the consumer. By protecting quality, SmartFresh helps you maximize fruit value and marketability for greater return on investment and a more profitable operation.

Q.  Is SmartFresh worth the investment?
A.  Besides protecting fruit quality and market value, SmartFresh adds efficiencies to your operation. SmartFresh technology helps you manage energy costs by reducing refrigeration needs during storage. Your fruit arrives at the retailer in better condition for longer shelf life and higher consumer appeal. SmartFresh also reduces fruit waste throughout the supply chain.

Q.  How is SmartFresh used?
A.  SmartFresh offers modes of delivery to fit with any operation size and storage system.

a. SmartFresh powder – The sugar-based powder dissolves in regular tap water to release the active ingredient into the storage room.
b. SmartFresh ProTabs – This tablet form adds agility to your operation during the busy season to serve any room at any time.
c. SmartFresh SmartTabs™ – This delivery system is ideal for small harvested fruit quantities and is adapted for both containers and trucks.
d. SmartFresh InBox – Convenient sachet formulation works right in the fruit container.

Q.  How is SmartFresh different from other products on the market?
A.  SmartFresh is a proven and trusted technology that leads the industry by helping growers and packers deliver fruits with the fresh taste and quality that consumers prefer. SmartFresh is manufactured under strict quality control guidelines and delivered to your operation as a final product. We follow a rigorous quality assurance process to ensure SmartFresh meets our rigid specifications and performs consistently each and every time you use it. And, SmartFresh comes with the support and expertise of AgroFresh, based on 15 years of experience and data gathering. Other companies do not have this level of experience in ethylene management.
Q.  What support will I get from AgroFresh when I use SmartFresh?
A.  The AgroFresh team provides professional counsel and recommendations to help you get the most  from SmartFresh. We can guide your decisions and help you integrate SmartFresh into your management system. Our experienced team has extensive third-party validation and performance data to help you determine your return-on-investment potential from SmartFresh. Furthermore, we're experts in the industry and can bring insights to benefit your operation. In many areas, SmartFresh customers benefit from the SmartFresh advisory network, comprised of international experts in fruit quality.

Q.  If I use SmartFresh, do I still need Harvista™?
A.  Together, Harvista™ and SmartFresh™ technologies achieve the highest possible fruit value all the way from the orchard to the consumer. Harvista delivers optimal quality at harvest, and SmartFresh maintains just-picked quality during storage, packing and shipment. Using both technologies, in countries where they are available, will help you achieve greater revenue and return from your operation.


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LAST UPDATED: September 21, 2017