Natural Preservation

Craig McCord

Craig McCord › Craig possesses 23 guitars and cannot play any of them. He likes fresh grilled sardines with a ...


Natural preservation.

This could be big.

A start-up company called Apeel Sciences is creating natural products that could be game changers in pesticide-free farming and extending the shelf life of produce and cut flowers. Naturally.

Writing on NPR‘s The Salt blog, Nathan Siegel’s, Startup’s New Sprays Promise Longer-Lasting Fruit, Fewer Pesticides explains:

Scientists at startup Apeel Sciences have figured out the secret to doubling lifespans. Not our lifespans, alas, but those of fruits and veggies. And they do it naturally.

It’s a big deal. Worldwide, we throw away about a third of our food, some $750 billion per year — and the percentage is even higher in the United States. One reason is rot: Food goes bad before we can bite in.

In response, scientist James Rogers and his team have developed an array of all-natural films for produce that prolong its life — up to 200 percent in some cases — and reduce the need for pesticides. They’re products for growers and grocers alike.

While working toward a PhD in the UC Santa Barbara’s Materials Engineering Department, he teamed up with researcher Jenny Du, who is a chemist.

Scientist James Rogers and his team have developed an array of all-natural films for produce that prolong its life.

When their experiments and initial results showed real progress, they received a $100,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to further their research into natural preservation.

After thousands of trials and positive results the company has recently raised $1.25 million from local angel investors and a venture capital firm.

Their first product is for extending the life of cut flowers. Florapeel is what they’re calling it and it will be available next quarter, with Invisipeel, for pesticide-free farming and Edipeel, for extending produce shelf life following close behind.

I know what you’re thinking: how does it work?

Mr. Siegel’s post continues with this explanation:

The team extracts specific molecules from rejected produce or unused parts (like stalks, leaves and peels), and uses them to create a water-based solution that covers fresh produce in an extra-thin layer of “invisible, tasteless, organic and completely edible” protection.

Wouldn’t this be a great thing? Let’s hope Apeel Sciences is on to something good.

Please read the whole post over on NPR’s The Salt blog. Nathan Siegel’s, Startup’s New Sprays Promise Longer-Lasting Fruit, Fewer Pesticides could be really good news.

Photo credit: Craig McCord