AGES Disrupts Conventional Methods of Fruit Processing - An Alternative to Chemical Dousing
• Technology to reduce or remove harsh chemicals from fruit packhouse processing. • Electrically charged water decimates pathogens from fungicide baths. • Advanced Electrocoagulation – Variable Electro Precipitation introduces charge to water for spore, bacteria, cyst and virus
[ClickPress, Wed Jul 12 2017] Consumers are becoming more health conscious and environmentally aware, calling for healthier farming practices. They are turning to organic produce due to the disease control methods of frequent spraying and dousing produce with harmful chemicals in the pre- and post-harvest process, resulting in liberally laced chemical residues. Consumer confidence is affecting profitability, with pressure being exerted to remedy these methods. Farmers are grappling with their heavy reliance on chemical treatments, losing hundreds of thousands of rand annually to fungal disease. It is well to note that fungicide resistance will make the situation more dire, resulting in harsher chemical treatments. So, where does this leave farmers trying to produce quality products, while marketers are literally telling them to clean up their act? To retain their competitive advantage, especially in the global arena, farmers must modify their practices, as this consumer ‘trend’ is not going away.
What is the Solution?
Ionised water, which decimates the fungicidal cell membrane without any chemical treatment.
AGES Africa, a subsidiary of an American company, took up the challenge that their advanced electrocoagulation technology, namely Variable Electro Precipitation™ (VEP), stood a very good chance of eliminating the need for chemical dousing in fruit packhouses. This was a tall order, and the success thereof was called the holy grail by an industry leader.
AGES, in partnership with Aqualytic, a teaching laboratory in Pretoria, ran a series of tests, and all assay results proved emphatically that Variable Electro Precipitation is able to decimate the toughest fungicidal spore membrane, resulting in the total neutralisation and eradication of green and blue mould caused by the pathogens Penicillium digitatum and Penicillium italicum, as well as Geotrichum candidum causing sour rot in stone fruit.
This is no small feat, and Robert Shambora, Global CEO of AGES Inc. (USA) was ecstatic with the findings. “This is a game changer for the industry, and not only can VEP totally eradicate fungicidal spores, complex bacteria, cysts and viruses making the need for chemicals in fruit packhouses obsolete, but we can also recirculate the water supply, which is a huge cost saving especially for drought stricken areas,” he enthused. He goes on to say that the treatment involved in using a VEP system in a packhouse environment would entail coupling the system to a key water source allowing the water to flow through the VEP reaction chamber and carrying the charged water through all the processes on the line including entering the drench baths and neutralising and eradicating spore colonies enroute. The fruit will also retain a residual charge which is sealed by the waxing process, and AGES advanced ozone will treat any airborne spores. This is the holy grail treatment as mentioned for treatment of all forms of spore, bacteria and virus disease control.
Aqualytic Laboratory (Pretoria, South Africa) reported that VEP instrument, when applied correctly, is capable of adequately performing its function of decimating all living cells/organisms in a water sample.
Additional test with a Hartbeespoort water source resulted in a <1 reading for E. coli and heterotrophic bacteria – with both contaminants eliminated entirely.
“Electrocoagulation was patented in 1906, so it’s not a new technology – and we’ve significantly advanced the technology over a number of years. Uniquely the electrically charged water from VEP is able to fully replace the usual cocktail of chemicals in the post-harvest treatment, resulting in chemical-free produce. This truly is a win-win for marketers, consumers, and the farming community,” says Laura Hallam, COO of AGES Africa.
Variable Electro Precipitation is a proven technology and works by introducing an electrical charge into the water supply as it navigates past a series of appropriately selected electrodes. These electrodes are housed in a specially designed reaction chamber, which retains the water for approximately 20 to 30 seconds, depending on the condition of the water. As the charge is introduced into the water, an electrochemical reaction occurs, which immediately starts rapid flocculation of H₂O and total suspended solids. This process facilitates two events – namely (1) rapid separation for solid removal, and (2) sterilisation. It is well to note that no chemicals, chloride, or filters are used in this process.
Where to from here? “We are talking to interested parties from industry bodies, corporates, and academia, as well as members of the farming community. All are very supportive, and enquiries are coming in for trial participation. We will be taking this show on the road to packhouses across South Africa,” says Laura.
AGES Africa - COO
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Athena Global Energy Solutions (AGES) accelerates access to global markets providing multiple best-in-class renewable energy and environmentally sustainable technologies solutions. Through the entity of AGES-Africa we now bring our considerable expertise adapted for local conditions in South Africa and Africa. Our speciality is advanced electrocoagulation for water purification, energy storage and energy management, flexible solar technology, biofuels and FOG treatment, affordable housing, sustainable remediation treatments in tyre recycling, cement and paint remediation and more. Our vastly knowledgeable Science Advisory board, Business Advisory board and Technical partners are all geared to work with you in bringing leading edge technology solutions to locations that require dire intervention. Our model is not only as a technology solution provider, but in an advisory and implementation role to meet your end needs. Our drive and ethos is moving the needle to make the world a better place.