OptiCept process in use at Kenya Cuttings
The OptiFreeze team brought a visit to the Syngenta Flowers production locations Kenya Pollen and Kenya Cuttings. OptiFreeze sold the first OptiCept line to Kenya Cuttings, where mainly Pelargonium and Poinsettia are being produced. The aim is to start a trial program with OptiCept that will be finished before the high season of Pelargonium starts in 2019.
The tour at Kenya Cuttings and Kenya Pollen was very beneficial for both parties in getting ready for installation of the OptiCept line. OptiCept is a method to improve the post-harvest quality of cuttings, cut flowers and potentially also seed. By using the OptiCept method, the shelf-life of flowers can be increased significantly from typically 4 to 11 days or more.
“Both farms, Kenya Cuttings and Kenya Pollen were very well organized, structured and highly sterile to avoid any contamination of the mother plants and cuttings”, says Eda Demir, CEO of OptiFreeze. “In these farms, Syngenta Flowers produced cuttings from mother plants. Mother plants are called Elite plants, because they provide very good material.”
Once the cuttings are harvested, they are cooled down immediately, packed and prepared for shipment. Demir: “The cuttings are in a fresh state when they are harvested, but during packaging and transportation, they start getting old. The cutting producers will benefit from our technology initially at this stage to preserve cuttings as fresh as possible until they are delivered to greenhouse owners. In the second stage, the greenhouse owners will benefit from our technology where the growing performance of the cuttings is improved.”
“We have also discussed and planned new steps after the installation”, says Eda. “Our collaboration with Syngenta Flowers involves developing recipes for different species of cuttings and making our innovative process an industrial standard. Therefore, we aim to start a trial program in Kenya to test different recipes in large scales and standardize the product handling before and after treatment. Our aim is to finish the trial program in September-October 2019 before the high season for Pelargonium starts.”
About the Technology
The OptiFreeze technology consists of two steps: Vacuum Infusion (VI) and Pulsed Electric Field (PEF). These two steps allow impregnation of liquids into plant cells, without damaging the plant tissues. By this technology, the life expectancy of flower cuttings are increased dramatically. It also has a positive effect on the rooting speed and growth after transportation, resulting in stronger plants. The improved shelf life can bring efficiency at the farm, improved logistics, gives a better quality at the grower and extra value to the plant.
OptiFreeze AB is a Swedish public company listed at the Small Cap Spotlight Stock Market. The company is a start-up with 8 employees. OptiFreeze currently has approximately 2.000 shareholders and owns a patented technology that enhances taste, shape and texture of fruit and vegetables throughout the freezing and de-freezing (thawing) process. More on www.optifreeze.se