NovaChem > Industry News > 2019 > Seaweed stops the split

Seaweed stops the split

Published on 09/09/2019

Waikaitu has produced a world first seaweed-based product called FruitGuard to help grapes naturally regulate the water pressure inside the fruit and significantly reduce splitting.
FruitGuard has also been trialled successfully on cherries.

Grape splitting can occur at the end of the season just before harvest, potentially ruining harvests with even a single late season rain event.
A grape that has split may then allow fungal infection, like botrytis, to take hold in the bunches.
If the fungus infection is bad enough, the grower can lose their entire crop. Fungal pressure intensifies late in grape development, just before the harvest.
“Two years ago, one Marlborough grower lost $1.2 million to grapes splitting that caused botrytis and they were not the only
one,” the company says.
FruitGuard was shortlisted in the innovation category for the 2018 NZ Biosecurity Awards.

To evaluate the new product, several trials on grapes were performed in the presence of a significant wet weather challenge.
“The positive result with FruitGuard on reducing split in grapes suggests the product has considerable potential to assist grape growers achieve higher yields of quality fruit,” says Marlborough viticulture consultant David Jacobsen.
In 2018 grape trials, splitting was reduced by up to five times - from 68 per cent incidence to 13 per cent - during one of the rainiest late seasons in recent memory.
Waikaitu says FruitGuard is a completely natural and foodsafe, organic product based on locally harvested invasive seaweed.
Three main components work together to nourish the plant, improve abiotic stress resistance and improve plant recovery by reducing oxidative damage.
“NZ wineries have very high standards for their fruit and will not accept sub-standard fruit from their growers.
“FruitGuard was developed to protect NZ’s high value fruit industry from damage due to increasing climate instability,” the
company says.
It harvests nutrient-dense brown seaweed in the Marlborough Sounds and combines it with other elements to create a range of plant and soil care products.

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