Unmet Need: More cost-effective and less labor-intensive cold damage protection technology
Economic loss from cold damage is one of the most prevalent recurring production issues in temperate fruit industry, and poses a significant challenge to profitable and sustainable production. Each year, the U.S. produces >15M tons of deciduous fruit crops that have a combined value of >$11B. These crops are susceptible to cold damage, and the effects of unpredictable/unseasonable cold are a major threat to the profitability of the industry.
The current methods of cold damage protection are undesirable due to pollution as in heating frost protection devices or by being highly labor intensive as in foam application, and expensive as in helicopter use. Moreover, they often achieve limited effectiveness in protecting crops from frost damage because the timespan between the temperature being low and reaching critical stage is brief.
The Technology: Cellulose formulation to minimize cold damage in tree truit
Researchers at WSU have developed a novel method to use cellulose dispersions to protect tree fruit from cold damage. This technology is based on spraying a dispersion containing cellulose formulation (CF) on floral bud to form a coating layer which functions as a thermal insulate. CF can also be attached with metal compounds which could either increase light absorption by the bud or increase light reflection.
• Improve resistance to cold damage in tree fruit
• Increase in yield following cold weather conditions
• Stem from renewable sources and is biodegradable
• Adhere strongly to fruit buds and canes
• Protect bud flower during anthesis
• Versatile - could be easily fine-tuned to enable other beneficial properties depending on the crop
US patent application filed