“The “Zero Spill” System means treatment is more effective and consistent."
Fruit Today euromagazine spent some time with its Managing Director, Benito Orihuel. In his role of Managing Director, he also brings the experienced vision of a post harvest technologist and scientist.
Can you explain what the “zero spill” system is all about?
The new technology that we have just patented allows an “endless” recycling of the fungicide suspensions used for citrus, both in drenchers and water tanks.
Until now, fungicide suspensions were discarded at the end of each working day because they gradually lose their effectiveness for decay control purposes as they are being used; in some cases this decline in effectiveness can be so high that levels of decayed fruit are the same as if the fruit had not been treated.
The new system is fully automatic and manual intervention is only required to remove mud and other coarse debris, from an accumulation reservoir. These are the only residues produced.
Since Citrosol´s research has made possible to maintain constant the effectiveness of the fungicide suspension pallet after pallet, consignment after consignment, we are able to maintain the suspension in use forever. Because it does not discard any of the fungicide suspension, it results in a significant financial saving. The results achieved with Citrosol’s Zero Spill System have been so positive that it has already been possible to use the same suspension to treat more than 2,000 tonnes of citrus.
The environmental breakthrough is very significant and at the same time the system is of great benefit for operators. As most people know, many aquifers are contaminated due, in part, to the use of post-harvest fungicides, and pressure from authorities and society itself is on the rise.
With our Zero Spill System we offer both to the packer sustainability and higher shelf life for the fruit.
Have there been any other developments recently?
Since September, we have been selling a new complementary product to conventional post-harvest fungicides. This is a combination of salts that do not add any active ingredients to the fruit. We have christened it Fortisol Ca. It is a post harvest phytofortifier that increases the production of phytoalexins (low molecular weight molecules that are synthesized in fruits, and plant tissues as a response to attacks from fungi and bacteria). By increasing the production of phytoalexins the fruit can defend itself against fungi.
Last season Citrosol introduced a new wax to the market. How has it fared in its first year?
This product has become the most popular in the range. These types of waxes mean high temperatures can be avoided, those in the range 40-50ºC which are usually the norm in drying tunnels. They improve the condition of the fruit by keeping the skin more healthy looking and preventing the occurrence of rind breakdown due to high temperatures in the tunnels. Its use also brings an energy saving of up to 100% as well as a reduction in the greenhouse-type gasses that are emitted by citrus packinghouses.
After having used it for one year we already have clients that have monitored their diesel consumption in their drying tunnels and have registered an energy saving of between 65 and 70% compared to the energy required with conventional waxes. This saving is very significant if you look at it in more concrete terms: for example, a company packing 20,000 tonnes of citrus every year could save around 9,000 litres of diesel at least; and if this company works only with clementines and small citrus, the annual saving in diesel would be around 12,000 litres.