Add San Antonio-based Murphy Tomatoes as the latest fresh produce company to use the AiroCide PPT food safety air sanitation technology.
Courtesy KES Science & Technology Inc.
Murphy, which began in the tomato business more than 60 years ago and grows tomatoes on more than 3,000 acres in California, Florida and Texas, has been employing five AiroCide units in its packing facilities since mid-August, said Bill Kellner, chief operating officer.
AiroCide was developed by NASA about 10 years ago to help keep air pure for agriculture programs aboard the International Space Station, said Jimmy Lee, vice president for sales and marketing for Atlanta-based KES Science & Technology Inc., which sold the AiroCide units to Murphy Tomatoes.
The system integrates with a process called photocatalytic oxidation, which draws air through a reactor bed coated with titanium dioxide and heated with ultraviolet light, Lee said. That creates a killing field for mold, fungi, bacteria and viruses in the air, which is expelled from the unit in purified form.
Lee said some of KES’s bigger customers using the system include Del Monte Fresh, Sunkist, Albert’s Organics and Whole Foods.
“It’s completely harmless,” Lee said. “In fact, it’s used in health care, anywhere indoor air quality is an issue.”
Kellner said he bought five of the AiroCide units for about $10,000. He says he likes the technology so much, he bought a unit for personal use.
“If I didn’t think so much of it, I wouldn’t have bought a unit for my house,” he said.