RGF Environmental Group, Riviera Beach, Fla., has begun client testing of a patented oxidation technology, photohydroionization — or PHI-Cell — that targets microbial contamination in commercial greenhouses.
The process uses broad-spectrum ultraviolet light rays, with a catalytic target, to eliminate contamination. It has been validated for mold yeast and viruses plus control of salmonella, listeria, E. coli O157:H7 and staphylococcus aureus.
RGF is working with a small group of growers, which it intends to expand.
“Initial data is quite promising as our test group is reporting improvements in dealing with mold spores and various fungi that harm plants,” Bill Svec, vice president of water and food products, said in a news release.
Before the move into greenhouses, the technology had already been used in other settings to sanitize meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, grains, brine and marinades, as well as water and ice.
“Mold, bacteria and viruses are all airborne contaminants that are commonly spread by contact,” Svec said. “Workers and insects can bring the pathogens into the environment from the outside. Cuttings from infected plants and even infected seeds can be the culprit, and without treatment, all susceptible plants can be adversely affected.”
RGF Environmental has installed air treatment systems for greenhouse customers — either with existing heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems or as self-contained units — to target airborne and surface microbes. The PHI unit creates a process consisting of hydro-peroxides, ozonide ions, super oxide ions and hydroxide ions. All revert back to oxygen and hydrogen after the pollutant is oxidized.
The company plans to release results of its PHI testing program sometime in the first half of 2015.