In­no­va­tion in fight against fungi­cide

Central and North Burnett Times - - RURAL LIFE -

CITRUS Aus­tralia has re­leased in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing cold plasma as a means to min­imise fungi­cide use and im­prove food safety along the sup­ply chain.

Cold plasma tech­nol­ogy is a new tool in de­vel­op­ment by Dr Sukhvin­der Pal Singh and a re­search team, look­ing to ap­ply the new in­no­va­tion.

Fund­ing is be­ing sup­plied by Hort In­no­va­tion with co-in­vest­ment from the NSW Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries.

Cold plasma is a gas-like sub­stance that dis­plays broad anti-mi­cro­bial ac­tiv­ity.

“The ben­e­fit of cold plasma tech­nol­ogy is that it kills bac­te­rial, fun­gal and vi­ral pathogens and is non-chem­i­cal, leaves no residues and has a short treat­ment time. Us­ing this treat­ment can min­imise use of fungi­cide,” Dr Singh said.

This could re­sult in be­ing an ef­fec­tive food safety tool for both pack­ers and grow­ers.

❝ The ben­e­fit of cold plasma tech­nol­ogy is that it kills bac­te­rial, fun­gal and vi­ral pathogens and is non-chem­i­cal, leaves no residues and has a short treat­ment time. — Dr Singh

Cold plasma is still in early de­vel­op­ment how­ever re­search is in­di­cat­ing some prom­ise in the use of cold plasma to tackle mi­cro­bial con­tam­i­na­tion in the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try.

Ad­vances in food safety tech­nol­ogy are pick­ing up steam in at­tempts to min­imise food fraud and to im­prove trace­abil­ity to fol­low fruit into the Chi­nese mar­ket which are be­ing falsely branded as Aus­tralian citrus.

“At the mo­ment, mar­ket surveil­lance and QR codes are two pos­si­ble so­lu­tions to tackle food fraud,” Dr Singh said.

“Mar­ket surveil­lance is too ex­pen­sive. The size of the mar­ket means this is not a prac­ti­cal so­lu­tion, QR codes are a good op­tion.”

There is al­ways the risk of QR codes be­ing fal­si­fied how­ever safer trac­ing op­tions are be­ing de­vel­oped in the United states, a liq­uid bar-code sprayed onto the fruit after har­vest.

“The bar code is in­vis­i­ble, edi­ble, taste­less and odour­less,” Dr Singh said.

Con­sid­ered a cheap and ef­fec­tive means of guar­an­tee­ing bet­ter trace­abil­ity.

At present, this tech­nol­ogy is only ap­proved in the US.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.