March 15, 2007 4:00 AM PDT

Killing fungi softly, with ozone

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Novazone doesn't concentrate on in-field killing like biopesticide companies. Instead, it focuses on making equipment for post-harvest storage and processing. Right now, the products are mostly installed in warehouses and cool rooms, where apples or lemons might sit for a year before making it to store shelves. One cherry grower has already replaced its traditional cleaning system--a vat filled with water and chlorine--with an ozone bathing system.

Soon, Novazone will come out with mobile units that can spray ozone onto fruit being ferried by trucks. Systems will also be prepared for large, big-box retailers.

Along with curbing chemicals, ozone can cut the amount of food that gets wasted, a major problem for food producers. In 2006, roughly 20 percent of the grapes picked in Chile never made it to store shelves because of pathogens.

In a test conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Anjou pears were locked in cold storage for six months and treated by Novazone's ozone system. Airborne mold was reduced by 100 percent compared with ordinary circumstances, while mold on fruit bins was down 95 percent. Food decay was reduced significantly, as well.

Three weeks after coming out of the locker, the pears were tested again, this time for skin and surface pressure. The ozone-treated pears were slightly harder, and thus would last a few weeks longer on a store shelf than untreated pears. The Food and Drug Administration approved ozone as a substance that can disinfect food through contact in 2001. Field studies at Paramount Farms (using kiwifruit) and Sunkist (using lemons) found that the fruit shelf life increased by several weeks.

Along with killing pathogens, ozone can slow down natural ripening processes. Ethylene, a gas that gets released by bananas and other substances, can cause apples, pears and other fruits to ripen at a faster rate. Ozone converts ethylene to carbon dioxide and thereby arrests the ripening process, allowing the fruit to live longer.

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can someone explain to me...
... why the ozone doesn't react with the foods themselves? I mean, why does it destroy microbes and mold but not with, say, spinach?
Posted by wernerlin (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm guessing it has to do with the fact that spinach is not a living organism and doesn't "die" when encountering ozone.
Bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms would probably be the only things affected by ozone.
Posted by Gasaraki (183 comments )
Link Flag
Insane guess
I mean, why does it destroy microbes and mold but not with, say, spinach?

'cause only Popeye will eat it?
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Link Flag
Fruit and vegetables don't need oxygen.
They produce it as a byproduct. It's the organisms that eat the
plants that need oxygen. Bind all the oxygen into O3 and they can't
Posted by Macsaresafer (802 comments )
Link Flag
Example of why we need software patents
"A good portion of the company's key intellectual property is based on software to get the sensors, computers and the ozone manufacturing system to interoperate dynamically. "

This is a very good example of why software patents should be protected from patent pirates.


The Professional Inventors Alliance USA was created more than a decade ago to protect American invention and encourage innovation. American inventors saw a need to track congressional legislation and federal policy that impacts independent inventors, small and medium-sized businesses and colleges and universities. The Alliance is the premiere organization in the nation, providing independent inventors a united voice in order to improve public policy.

The Alliance provides legislative counsel, congressional updates and strategy development to its members through a number of vehicles. Additionally, through its speaker?s bureau, Alliance members have an opportunity to provide expert opinion to many of the nation?s top-tier business, technology and mainstream media organizations. Over the years its members have testified before Congress, offered counsel to key Senate and House committee members, and successfully pushed legislation to protect America?s independent inventors.

Since its inception, the Alliance has grown into one of the most vocal advocates for America?s patent system.

Examples of areas of our expertise include David Vs. Goliath patent litigation, patent reform, and we have a unique view of patent pirating companies who are associated with the "Coalition for Patent Fairness".

Ronald J. Riley,

President - - RJR at
Executive Director - - RJR at
Washington, DC
Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.
Posted by Ronald J Riley (27 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yeah, we really need software patents on one click shopping like on amazon, so other websites are less of a convenience. That makes perfect sense to me.
Posted by dlehmer (3 comments )
Link Flag
But not all patents
If the process is unique, then fine. If it's a vague idea, then no. I don't argue that inovation should not be protected. I just want it to truely be inovation. Suppose some patent troll has already patended the idea of "using a sensor to monitor the environment"? That's a pretty vague idea, isn't it? These guys would be in big trouble because their inovative software depends on using sensors to monitor the environment. This is why people are screaming for reform. Vague ideas are too often receiving patents.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Link Flag
Incomplete solution
The problem with this approach is that it does not protect against contamination after the treatment. Chlorine, as it leaves residue, keeps food safe. That's the safe with tap water treatment. Some facilities use ozone but chlorine must be added to ensure water keeps safe along the distribution grid.
Posted by zextron (151 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Bad solution.
Chlorine isn't good for humans either. Wouldn't it be better to treat
the food with ozone while in transit and in storage? What's to stop
trucks and warehouses from having ozone generators, just as they
have refrigerators?
Posted by Macsaresafer (802 comments )
Link Flag
Add O3 to my fridge?
If it does all that much good, how about a small unit to extract O2 from the air, convert to O3 and spray in my fridge? It probably wouldn't take much O3 and would be more pratical than an Internet terminal in the door.
Posted by gthurman (67 comments )
Reply Link Flag
the oxidation process of ozone molecule by contact to microorganism, fungus then it will destroy the cell wall of those living organisms.

Then after once the ozone molecule has contacted to those. Will the single additional atom split away from the ozone structure and reform to O2 suddenly?

If yes! then ozone molecule will only make one attack to the organism and certainly they do not make multi-attacking to those.

If the single atom of ozone form attack or contact to organism is true! Then why the single atom of the oxygen(o2)once they were spited by the electric discharge and then form to single oxygen atoms, why this not to make directly oxidize to the organisms rather than forming to ozone molecule and attack by single atom of ozone?

Thank you very much!!!!
Posted by Ciggas (1 comment )
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