In late 2020, Chrysal International announced a partnership with the emerging material science and agriculture innovation company Verdant Technologies. Through the partnership, Chrysal is bringing a novel post-harvest solution to the floral industry. The product tackles ethylene, a widely known culprit for inducing decay and increasing susceptibility to disease in florals.
“Ethylene is a natural aging hormone produced by plants that can cause premature bloom, wilt, and potentially increase decay,” says Todd Edgington, Chief Technology Officer at Verdant Technologies. “After flowers are harvested and when they encounter stress from transit or temperature fluctuation, they produce ethylene to speed up the maturation process.”
In recent years, the use of 1-MCP has begun gaining acceptance in the industry as an environmentally friendly postharvest solution. 1-MCP is a plant growth regulator with a structure similar to ethylene and a proven track record of inhibiting ethylene in produce and flowers. 1-MCP binds to the plant’s ethylene receptors and slows the aging process.
While 1-MCP has been around for more than 20 years, it hasn’t been simple for growers to implement, required considerable investment, and the results have been inconsistent. These challenges opened the door for innovation to help find a better way to reduce waste in the floral industry and provide a more sustainable solution for retailers and consumers.
New approach to a proven solution
Until recently, delivering 1-MCP has been challenging for many growers across the globe. Previous solutions have required special equipment and holding periods, complex temperature controls, and catalysts that introduce free water. This complexity has led to inconsistent results in both the floral and produce industry.
Verdant Technologies developed a unique, patented formulation, which includes the placement of 1-MCP on a recyclable PET sheet. The sheet is easily packaged with the flowers when shipping, and the 1-MCP is activated by the natural flower respiration that occurs after harvest.
Verdant Technologies calls their technology HarvestHold Bloom®. Through their agreement, Chrysal has rebranded HarvestHold Bloom and is bringing it to the market as Ethylene Buster® Sheets in South America.
Unlike many ethylene inhibitors, this unique sheet utilizes a novel process to combat ethylene. The results show consistent performance through its extended-release formulation.
“We have been a firm believer in the benefits 1-MCP can provide,” says Peter Vriends, CEO at Chrysal International. “Partnering with Verdant Technologies to overcome the common challenges of implementing 1-MCP has helped us simplify operations and continue to improve the consumer experience.”
Scaling for the future
Chrysal has been incorporating Ethylene Buster Sheets into its Colombian operations, treating a wide variety of florals, including bouquets, alstroemerias, carnations, and roses. The sheets are packed and shipped with the flowers to a variety of retail customers.
“We’ve run multiple trials to measure efficacy and ensure we are delivering a superior solution to our customers,” adds Vriends. “The results clearly show a difference with our Ethylene Buster Sheets. We are seeing an extra 4-6 days of healthier flowers.
As the partnership between the two companies continues to grow, Chrysal plans to continue scaling up its commercialization of their Ethylene Buster Sheets and intends to bring the technology to Ecuador in the coming months. Contingent on regulatory approvals, the company also hopes to launch the solution in the US and additional markets.
“Solving complex challenges, like food and floral waste, won’t come through a single product, but we’re committed to working together through partnerships to be a part of the bigger solution,” says Gordon Robertson, CEO of Verdant Technologies.
Verdant Technologies is also bringing their HarvestHold innovation to the produce industry. The company plans to expand its footprint globally after launching in the United States and Mexico.
“We aim to deliver simplicity and freshness to the floral and produce industry through innovation,” adds Edgington.
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