Disease and spoilage Control with the PENDRED Tru-fog© system
The Pendred Tru-fog© system is already well established for hydrating salads and vegetables in cold storage after harvest. A new role combating bacteria, mould, fungus and other disease and spoilage organisms is being developed for use in a number of food storage and processing areas.
One of the key benefits of using the Tru-fog© system to deliver plant protection products and food processing aids is a significant increase in efficiency, allowing a reduction of around 50% in the quantity of sanitising product used, and also reducing product wastage and increasing yield. In addition, humidification continues to provide plants with water during and after the antimicrobial treatment.
The use of our Tru-fog© technology is also an opportunity to reduce the water and carbon footprint of the food industry and improve food safety and food security. Employing this sophisticated technology in combination with an environmentally compatible biocide has the potential to produce a dramatic step-change in the global approach to food safety and food security with respect to the storage and distribution of post-harvest fresh produce.
Plant hydration with Tru-fog© has been available commercially for over 10 years using our equipment. The system works by producing a large amount of ‘true fog’ consisting of tiny droplets of super-purified water that are ALL less than 5 microns in diameter. By adding disinfectants or biocides, an antimicrobial fog is produced which opens up new possibilities. Standard Tru-fog equipment is used to produce the droplets, but medical grade dosing equipment is used to add exactly the correct amount of the appropriate chemical product.
Because of the density and persistence of our airborne droplets, the disinfectant contained in them is available for a much longer period. This dramatically improves the level of disease and spoilage control, which is essential to most soft fruits.
The uniform distribution of our droplets helps ensure that the disinfectant they contain is spread evenly throughout the greenhouse, poly-tunnel or cold store. Tru-fog© uses less disinfectant than conventional application methods, an average 50% reduction in usage or greater for some products.
Unlike traditional atomisation delivery methods (sometimes incorrectly referred to as fogging systems) the unique density of Tru-fog© reaches and disinfects all areas – walls, floors and ceilings as well as disinfecting the atmosphere or air inside the space. This active air disinfection is unique to Tru-fog©.
Using Tru-fog© to deliver a wide range, or even a combination of disinfectants is already commercially available in Holland and has now been introduced into this country. We are working with a number of commonly used disinfectant products but are focusing current research on a novel environmentally-friendly and biocompatible product made from water, salt and an electrical current. It is an effective product for use on crops in greenhouses, cold stores and treatment tunnels as demonstrated by positive results from independent tests. We will also be providing recommendations for treating pre and post-harvest products during working hours when more of our test results are available.
We are initially focusing on crops such as baby leaf, tomatoes, cucumbers and brassicas but already disease and spoilage control by Tru-fog© is attracting interest from the growers of a wide range of sensitive crops. For post harvest cold store treatment the main interest is likely to be for treating leafy crops such as lettuce and brassicas but other important developments include disease, mould, fungus and spoilage control with carrots, white cabbage, strawberries and blueberries.
The Tru-fog© delivery method is the key to an efficient delivery of a disinfectant to the target if maximum efficacy is to be achieved. The optimisation of the system is dependent upon the nature of the disinfectant, choice of technology, treatment regime, environmental conditions, type of produce and choice of decontaminant.
The additional environmental advantages of our solutions are:
- Low environmental impact – minimal environmental legacy due to the metastability of the generated solutions;
- Low carbon footprint – Solutions can be generated in situ using only salt and water, obviating the need for transport, packaging and handling;
- Safety – These solutions are currently considered to be one of the most efficient and safe methodologies for disinfecting water pipelines and preventing biofilm formation.