Nanocrystals May Protect Fruit Against Frost Damage
Explore the research being done into whether nanocrystals can be a viable option to protect fruit from frost damage.
Summer temperatures will certainly reign supreme in Florida for many more months, but frost is always a concern in the winter months. A group of researchers with Washington State University (WSU) are looking into whether nanocrystals may be able to help protect delicate fruit from frost damage, according to a Growing Produce article. Explore the details of the technology below.
Nanocrystals are a form of nanotechnology. It’s a crystalline particle that is super small. To get technical, it’s a “particle having at least one dimension smaller than 100 nanometres…”
According to the article, the researchers with WSU are utilizing a “$500,000 grant from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture to develop a plant-based product that coats and protects fruit buds during cold snaps post-bloom.”
A WSU Associate Professor, Xiao Zhang, developed the nanocrystal solution with a collaborative team.
Effectiveness of Nanocrystals
The aim of the research was to explore ways nanocrystals may keep frost from damaging fruit. The applications could reach all the way down to Florida where oranges, peaches, blueberries, and other fruits and berries could benefit from protection from cold snaps.
“Our preliminary results show the technology to be very promising, even better than we were expecting. If we prove that the technology works, and if the method of application is perfected, it will not only have applications in tree fruit, but in many other crops, and beyond. The potential for this technology is huge,” Zhang said in the article
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