How the X-ray process works

Food irradiation dates to the discovery of x-rays and radioactive substances in the 1890s. Comparative research in the late 1940s and early 1950s examined the utility of different types of ‘machine sourced' ionizing radiation just as practical sources, particle accelerators, became available. There is now a world wide availability of reliable equipment.

The x-rays are created in the particle accelerator from ordinary electricity. Where possible Horticulture Access Solutions P/L (HAS) will use green electricity generated from renewable energy sources. There are no emissions from the facility. The x-rays are contained by a shield, just like a medical facility or dentist's surgery, while carbon filters are used to catalyze ozone created in the process. There are many years of scientific and technical research behind the calculations and regulations which support, control and monitor the process.   

Growers and exporters will deliver the fruit to the HAS facility packed in cases, graded and ready for export. The whole packed case is treated; the individual fruits are not handled. The treatment process is fast and the fruit is kept at the correct temperature, which will maintain the high quality set by the grower at packing.

The packed cases are loaded on to carriers in a very precise manner. X-rays are scanned across the packed cases of fruit, killing or sterilizing the fruit flies and other insects of concern and providing the required quarantine treatment for export.

 

The linear accelerator

 Summary of the X-ray process

 

Layout of a typical X-ray facility for food irradiation

 

Example of a carrier which takes the packed cases of fruit to the X-ray beam 

The X-ray technology is proven and there is a similar facilities in other parts of the world, providing the plant quarantine treatment needed for export. 

As a resource of further comment and information ABC Radio National broadcast a program on food preservation techniques in 2003; scroll down to the bottom 3rd of the transcript and there is discussion on the application in Hawaii of x-rays as a quarantine treatment for tropical fruit.

Regulation

In Queensland, the irradiation facility is regulated by Queensland Health.  

Planning

Planning is underway for a site on industrial land in Brisbane. The building will have a floor area of about 2000m2 , will be temperature controlled, use green electricity where possible and recycle cooling water. There will be no emissions from the x-ray facility.

Contact us

If you would like more information on x-rays, our plans or would like to make a comment please email us at info@hortaccess.com.au .