Fruit growers globally share quality targets aiming to achieve Class 1 fruit grade. To ensure profitability, it is not the quantity of fruit produced that makes the difference but an early harvest, large and uniform fruit at the right sugar content and colour.
"To achieve that, growers are recommended to apply several inputs including nitrogenous fertilisers, auxins, biostimulants and hormones for a faster growth and development," explains Dr Apostolos Papadopoulos, CEO at Crop Intellect Ltd. "These result in forced cell division and expansion increasing vulnerability to abiotic stresses and diseases, development of physiological disorders and nutritional deficiencies. This is a typical practice in kiwi, cherries, apples, apricots, berries, grapes, peach, nectarine, citrus, watermelon and so on."
All quality characteristics in fruit are linked to cell structural integrity and cell wall strength which are ultimately connected to calcium
"Applications of calcium is a standard farm practice in fruit production, either to soil or foliage. Analysis of plant tissue typically shows high abundance of calcium achieved with most standard products in the marketplace and calcium deficiencies are rare. An example of this is seen in hydroponic systems and calcareous soils. Many technologies claiming improved calcium absorption, transport or availability, have negligible effect to fruit quality. The reason for this is because plants store up to 85% of the absorbed calcium in the vacuole, the largest organelle and store in plant cells where calcium is inactive. Moving a small portion of that stored calcium from the vacuole into the cell and cell wall results in a significant improvement in fruit quality. This can now be achieved with Crop Intellect`s TECAL® patent protected (patent grant 2020) calcium technology, the most advanced new generation fertiliser that stimulates the plant to release calcium from inside the vacuole into the cytosol (cell space)," according to Dr Papadopoulos.
The technology acts synergistically by opening the vacuole membrane ion channels for calcium transport and by blocking the inhibitors of calcium release. This results in a flux of calcium into the cytosol producing two distinctive effects; i) an imbalance in calcium homeostasis which creates a sink forcing the plant to absorb more calcium and ii) improved calcium mediated signal transduction enhancing cell responses to stress. The excess calcium in the cytosol is absorbed by the cell wall increasing cell integrity and rigidity which enables uniform cell division and expansion resulting in larger and uniform fruit development with exceptional storage ability.
The TECAL® technology can be offered as a concentrate to be added into existing fertiliser formulations or as a direct additive into the spray tank. Furthermore, TECAL® is offered as an optimally balanced end-product fertiliser, containing highly available forms of calcium, magnesium, boron and zinc, recommended at 2lt per hectare per application. Results from field trials across Europe under commercial growing condition confirmed significant reduction of flower abortion, increased fruit size, higher brix content and reduced physiological disorders. Overall, trials demonstrated an increase of 10% in Class 1 fruit grade and a further reduction of up to 20% in unmarketable yield.
Crop Intellect Ltd is a UK based R&D company focused on agro-innovations to improve crop productivity in a sustainable manner using natural phytochemicals. World renowned technologies that increase yield and quality of produce have been patented and commercialised through international players in the agri-sector.
TECAL® is sold exclusively by Agrovista in the UK and available in a few more countries by other partners. We are constantly looking for new partners (distributors, agents, companies and investors) to commercialise our technologies world-wide. Please contact us to discuss opportunities to collaborate, source TECAL® product or the technology. We are happy to provide further details on the technology and what it can offer to your produce.