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Citrocide® Palta, Fresh Cut and Biocare: post-harvest innovations for avocado, minimally processed and organic produce

More than 50 years creating solutions to extend the commercial life of citrus and other fruit and vegetables.

Question.- In the last edition of Fruit Attraction the headline was given to a broader portfolio, what news did you present at the fair in Madrid?

Benito Orihuel.- “Biocare by Citrosol” our new range of products certified for use in organic farming. The range includes Citrocide®, a new fungistatic for the control of citrus decay, and a natural coating.

For the avocado; together with the new Citrosol AK Paltas UE wax, we have brought another new solution to Fruit Attraction 2019, the Citrocide® Palta System: hygienic washing that controls pathogenic fungi, while radically improving food safety with homogeneous results at an industrial level.

More news of real importance, as an alternative to chlorine, has been the launch of the Citrocide® Fresh Cut system aimed at the minimally processed washing segment. Washing with our System is not only technologically superior, but economically efficient and environmentally sustainable, guaranteeing food safety.

Question.-How is Citrosol’s organic catalog looking?

Benito Orihuel.- Our great hope for the organic market is known as Biocare, as I mentioned previously. A range consisting of four products: Citrocide® PC and Citrocide® Plus, safe use disinfectants for hygienic washing that avoid cross-contamination in washing machines and keep treatment and process waters microbiologically clean, Fung-Cid Bio BP, fungistatic for the control of citrus decay that extends its commercial life, and Citrosol A K Bio UE, a natural wax coating to improve shine, prevent weight loss and reduce the respiratory rate of the citrus fruit.

In summary, with “Biocare by Citrosol” certified organic citrus will be displayed on the shelves just as clean and looking just as attractive as conventional citrus.

Question.- Has this leap forward at your Potríes (Valencia) headquarters – physical expansion (new facilities), technological renovation (new equipment) and human (more personnel) – already translated into results?

Benito Orihuel.- The fact that we have a test plant proportioned and equipped as a small packinghouse has given us greater capacity to offer innovative solutions to the market more quickly. We have a greater capacity for R&D+i, and of the different projects that we are developing some have already been brought to market, such as the Biocare range, Citrocide® Fresh Cut system and our Easy Kit®.

Improvements in the equipment used in our molecular biology laboratory allow us to identify pathogens and resistances in less than 2 days; a tool that has helped us enhance our comprehensive solutions, helping us guarantee to our customers that their treatments are the most appropriate, to react swiftly at any moment throughout the season, based on rapidly obtained diagnoses.

Q.- Where is the future of citrus post-harvest heading?

B.O.- We see a trend in demand on the part of consumers that moves through the distribution chain to exporters for products that are not treated with synthetic fungicides. To these ends, putting aside conventional fungicide-free treatments, inappropriately termed “residue 0” which are effectively in no man’s land since there isn’t any legislation to regulate them, we have developed a product line certified as comsumable for organic farming to provide a response to this need.

In the difficult balance to achieve the sustainability of a global production system and respond to the consumption needs of a growing world population, treatment with conventional fungicides, at least in the case of citrus fruit, will continue to be essential, as they can attain levels of 99% decay control and form an essential tool to mitigate food waste.

Q.- All this in a scenario where every day there are fewer active substances …

B.O.- Indeed, every year the permitted active ingredients available are reduced, next March fruit destined for the EU will no longer be able to be treated with Propiconazole, adding greater pressure on the sector which must, if possible, exercise even greater control over “the good use” of the available active ingredients, falling very much in line with our concept of precision post-harvest. We achieve excellent results in citrus decay control much of the time using a single active material; we believe this to be the way forward.

Q.- And as a company, where is Citrosol headed?

B.O.- Citrosol aspires to further increase its leadership in post-harvest citrus. Being leaders in Spain, in the Mediterranean basin, and in Peru, we would like to lead in the rest of the producing countries. We are also working on solutions for other target fruits, with very good results thus far and we want to continue advancing.

We are passionate about our work as “fruit doctors” providing sustainable solutions to increase the life of fresh fruit and vegetable produce, and to avoid post-harvest losses. Engaging a scientific approach, we were pioneers in advocating the Circular Economy concept to our sector, developing Citrosol Vertido Cero®. Now we are developing systems for cleaning and disinfecting fresh vegetable produce and for the Fresh Cut and Minimally Processed industry, radically improving food safety and extending commercial life. It is a relatively young business for us when compared to more than 50 years of our history, but we are seeing strong growth in the European market.

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