Light-activated natural disinfectant developed in Argentina
A team at the University of San Luis in Argentina has created a natural, light-activated disinfectant.
Director of the multidisciplinary team of researchers, Matías Funes, spoke with FreshFruitPortal.com about the development of the toxin-free product.
Extracted from the locally grown plant hypericum perforatum, the product is activated by light from the sun or greenhouse lamps. The two combined elements kill microorganisms without leaving residue on the plants.
After light activates the solution, it biodegrades and leaves the produce free of any unwanted flavor or artificial colors.
Advantages of photo-disinfectants
Along with not harming the plant and leaving harmful chemical residue, this new solution is an anti-bacterial insecticide and fungicide. Further, it can be applied in short time periods, explained Funes.
At the same time that the photo-disinfectant kills bugs and microorganisms, it also degrades so that it doesn't leave residue on fruit, he said.
Another advantage of the solution is that it is environmentally friendly. It doesn't cause harm to the fruit nor does it use harmful chemicals that could have a bigger impact on the environment, he said.
"It is necessary to use products derived naturally that produce the smallest amount of contamination possible but are also effective. Our challenge is to contribute to that," explained Funes.
Researchers developed the composition with specific formulas called nano-emulsions. This process means that things become even more precise and efficient.
"This is what allows the composition to have the best possible effect on the microorganisms on the plants that we are targeting," he added.
Additionally, nano-emulsion extends the life of the products it's used on.
"When a product arrives to supermarkets, if you utilize this nano-emulsion, it increases the freshness for the consumer," said Funes.
Currently, the disinfectant is ready to hit commercial shelves. As a result, the team is now looking for companies that are interested in buying the product.
Similarly, researchers continue working on other photo-disinfectants.