MustGrow Reports Successful Postharvest Applications in Stored Potatoes

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  • Successful postharvest study in both Fusarium dry rot disease control and sprout suppression
  • MustGrow’s mustard-based technology outperformed leading synthetic chemical standards
  • No combination treatment products currently exist that address both disease and sprouting
  • Potato postharvest program may now transition to Sumitomo Corporation across the Americas and Bayer across Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa

10 February 2022, Canada: MustGrow Biologics Corp. is pleased to announce successful postharvest trials in both disease control and sprout suppression of stored potatoes conducted by a third-party independent laboratory.  MustGrow’s organic mustard plant-based technology outperformed leading synthetic chemical standards for treatment of stored potatoes for both Fusarium dry rot disease and sprouting.  No combination solutions currently exist that treat both disease and sprouting – making MustGrow’s application unique in addressing both postharvest issues in potatoes simultaneously.

MustGrow’s postharvest development program may now transition to Sumitomo Corporation across the Americas (potatoes and bananas) and Bayer across Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (potatoes only).  Further testing and trials are required to evaluate commercial potential.  Additional postharvest applications may also be trialed, including disease control in large shipping containers.

MustGrow had previously announced separate collaboration agreements with Sumitomo Corporation and Bayer to evaluate the efficacy and commercial potential of MustGrow’s technology.

Disease Control – Fusarium Dry Rot

MustGrow’s mustard-derived technology was trialed versus hydrogen peroxide, a leading synthetic chemistry standard, to measure control (kill) of Fusarium dry rot (Fusarium sambucinum conidia and  Fsambucinum).  MustGrow’s technology outperformed the chemical standard at multiple rates with statistical significance.  Disease control was measured after the 5-week interval, highlighting the effectiveness of MustGrow’s technology at killing not only the Fusarium dry rot itself, but also the disease’s ability to reform and replicate.

Exhibit 1: Quartered potatoes photographed after 5 weeks.  Dark patches represent Fusarium dry rot.

Sprout Inhibition Success

MustGrow’s mustard-derived technology outperformed the chemical standard in sprout suppression, chlorpropham (“CIPC”), at multiple rates with statistical significance after the 5-week period.  Additionally, sprouts still remained absent at the conclusion of the trial, highlighting the MustGrow technology’s outperformance.  Sprout suppression utilizing MustGrow’s technology demonstrated over 2x the length of control over the CIPC standard rate during the 5-week study.  MustGrow’s technology, mustard-derived AITC, has a short ‘half-life’ of 24-72 hours, whereas CIPC is known to accumulate within walls, surfaces, conveyor belts and facility concrete, with no sanitization procedure able to completely eliminate its presence.  CIPC has been banned by the European Union as of Oct. 8, 2020.

Exhibit 2: Potato sprouts photographed after 5 weeks

Excerpt from third-party laboratory report: “The MustGrow experimental treatments provide control of both sprouting and Fusarium dry rot in stored potatoes. With pressure globally on chlorpropham as a sprout control for table potatoes, this treatment shows considerable promise as a single treatment to manage several major storage issues.”

Potato Sprouting Treatment

Potatoes, the world’s fourth most important food crop in terms of human consumption after maize, wheat and rice[1], is a US$4 billion industry in the US, with as much as 33% of yield lost per year due to postharvest issues – approximately US$1.3 billion in lost revenue[2].  Potatoes require up to nine months of storage and become waste without proper sprout suppression management, making postharvest sprout suppression a key element of potato storage.  The current annual sprout suppression market is estimated at US$60 million in Europe and over US$100 million globally[3].

The leading agrochemical product for sprout suppression, CIPC, was banned by the European Union on Oct. 8, 2020.  For over 60 years, CIPC has long been the major global sprout suppressant, widely applied to stored potatoes.  With this ban now effective, potato growers will be forced to refrigerate produce, adding an estimated US$150 million annual expenditure in the European Union3.  The additional capital expenditure and refrigeration energy consumption make this temporary approach unsustainable.  Although the ban was anticipated, no effective treatment alternatives have emerged – creating a major problem for existing potato storage sites.

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