The Electronic Smell of the Orchard Fruit

J.R. Pereira Valente, Rodrigo Matos Almeida, L. Kooistra

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Assessing fruit maturity at the end of the season is a hard task for fruit growers. This task is either made by visual inspection – which is tedious and time consuming - or using destructive procedures for measuring biophysical properties of the fruits, such as the sugar content. An alternative to measure the ripeness of fruits is measuring the volatile organic compounds emitted by the fruits. An important compound produced by the fruits in this stage is ethylene (C2H4). The recent advances in electro chemical semiconductors have enabled the rapid growth of electronic noses technologies and applications. Nevertheless, the research reported where its characteristics and limitations are explored only addresses experiments in controlled and indoor settings.Therefore, many questions remain regarding the electronic noses applicability in outdoor environments. This work presents preliminary evidences that there are good chances that ethylene can be detected outdoors via an electronic nose placed within an orchard field. The results presented are measurements acquired in a Conference pear (Pyruscommunis) orchard in September 2017. The measurements where acquired on several points within the field, and the maximum ethylene detection shows an increase of 10% over 400 seconds. These results were contrasted with a theoretical study where gas dispersion patterns can be appreciated when subject to the wind speeds recorded in the field. The simulation results indicated a good correlation between the practical and the theoretical simulation results. To the best of our knowledge this work is the first to report results from measurements using electronic noses in a non-controlled environment, and detecting spatial-temporal variability of natural gas sources.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the European Conference on Agricultural Engineering AgEng2018
EditorsP.W.G. Koerkamp, C. Lokhorst, B. Ipema, C. Kempenaar, C.M. Groenestein, C.G. van Oostrum, N.J. Ros
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen University & Research
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
EventAgEng Conference 2018: New Engineering concepts for a valued agriculture - Wageningen, Netherlands
Duration: 8 Jul 201812 Jul 2018


ConferenceAgEng Conference 2018
Internet address

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  • Cite this

    Pereira Valente, J. R., Matos Almeida, R., & Kooistra, L. (2018). The Electronic Smell of the Orchard Fruit. In P. W. G. Koerkamp, C. Lokhorst, B. Ipema, C. Kempenaar, C. M. Groenestein, C. G. van Oostrum, & N. J. Ros (Eds.), Proceedings of the European Conference on Agricultural Engineering AgEng2018 (pp. 253-258). Wageningen University & Research.