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Control Botrytis with UV light during transport
Not only the production of flowers has moved. Similar trends can also be seen in a shift of the production of greenhouse vegetables, from North America to Latin America and from Northern Europe to Spain and Turkey. As a result, the distance from the producer of flowers and fresh produce to the consumer has increased significantly. This in turn has translated into losses during transport of fresh flowers and vegetables to moulds such as Botrytis.
Prevention with pesticides is cumbersome: Hans Lekkerkerk of JHL Group says: "Our potted gerbera may spend up to eight days in a truck on their way to the consumer. They pass through perhaps five countries on their way to their final destination. Each with different MRL rules. So, we work as much as possible with a non-chemical way to protect our plants against Botrytis. That way we can serve customers in a greater number of countries".
One non-chemical technology that has seen wide application is the use of germicidal UV: Lamps are installed for example in a bunching machine for roses. But that method is not as simple as it looks. Karel VanHattum of Jamafa says: "We have equipped our bunching machine with UV lamps to help our customers deliver a cleaner product to their customers. But, please be aware: this is not simply a matter of installing a few UV lamps in the machine. We have to think about worker safety. We have to comply with ACGIH rules. The UV light may not interfere with the working of our sorting cameras. And most importantly the dosage of UV has to be correct: Not too little UV. Not too much UV. This is why Jamafa only works with companies who have experience and expertise in this particular application".
In the case of vegetables such as tomato, there are yet additional regulations to consider. Arne Aiking of CleanLight explains: "Besides the regulations mentioned by Karel, there also rules by HACCP which forbid the use of glass lamps in food packaging machines, because the use of glass bulbs may possibly result in the contamination of food with glass chards. So, we were very pleased when we were able to offer HACCP-proof solutions as well to growers in Ethiopia, Holland, Mexico, Spain and the US.”
Today, suppliers of horticultural machinery such as Aweta, Bercomex, Flier Systems, Havatec, Jamafa, and others offer germicidal UV systems that are fully integrated into their machinery. So, growers achieve better control of Botrytis, during transport.
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