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Algae BioMax system enhances crop market value

By Algae Biosciences Inc. | November 15, 2011

Algae Biosciences Inc., an Arizona biotechnology company, recently launched its trademarked Algae BioMax—a system that efficiently delivers algae-based nutrients to crops through standard irrigation systems, representing a potentially groundbreaking development in the agricultural sector. 

For the past two years, AlgaeBio has collaborated with a major international producer and distributor of fresh produce to develop and refine the Algae BioMax system at a large Arizona melon crop farm. Through this extended field study, Algae BioMax surpassed even the most optimistic predictions by improving crop yields—an astonishing 38 percent for cantaloupes, and a truly astronomical 92 percent for honeydew melons—while also enhancing crop size, germination rate, time to maturity, and health and vitality.

The proof of the pudding, of course, is in the eating. And the Algae BioMax-fertilized melons grown as part of the pilot project, in addition to creating other crop market value assets, proved a true taste sensation.

“We had various scientific analyses performed on the fruit,” said Mark Edwards, vice president of corporate development and marketing at Algae Biosciences. “They told us about the nutritional improvements that Algae BioMax provides, and gave a strong indication of fruit quality and extended shelf life. But the best gauge came from the human palate—the taste test. And in that regard, the Algae BioMax melons scored extraordinarily high.”

Blind taste tests from the Algae BioMax pilot project, carried out at Arizona State University, overwhelmingly favored the Algae BioMax-fertilized melons.

The preference ratio was 17-to-1 for honeydew melons, and 15-to-1 for cantaloupes, over melons from a corresponding controlled crop grown at the same farm. Test subjects said they preferred the sweeter taste, more intense color, and firmer texture of the Algae BioMax-treated melons.

In addition to dramatically improving crop yield and producing melons that command superior market value, the Algae BioMax system significantly enhances a farmer’s net revenue in two other key areas: reducing production costs by curtailing the need for chemical fertilizers, fuel, and herbicides; and improving soil porosity and fertility.

In terms of nutritional improvements, AlgaeBio contracted Dallas-based Food Safety Net Services to develop an independent nutritional profile of the Algae BioMax-treated melons and the controlled crop—with revealing results.

Algae-infused cantaloupes contained three times the sugar, and 60 percent more Vitamin C, in comparison to the control-crop melons, while Algae BioMax-fertilized honeydew melons contained 50 percent more sugar.

A separate report from an independent laboratory commissioned by the international fresh produce firm reported that essential micronutrients such as boron, chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, magnesium, molybdenum, selenium, sulfur, and zinc were on average 250 percent higher in the Algae BioMax-treated melons—because algae naturally deliver micronutrients that were otherwise unavailable in the degraded soil used during the pilot project.

Brix and firmness tests also confirmed the benefits of the Algae BioMax system. Fruit producers use the Brix scale as the measure of sugar (one degree of Brix equals a gram of sucrose in 100 grams of solution), and growers covet higher Brix levels, because a higher sugar density means better taste. Algae BioMax melons rated a 13 to 14 on the Brix scale, compared to a 9 to 10 rating ascribed to a competitor’s melon.

Fruit producers also treasure firmness—because consumers prefer stronger texture, and firmer fruit has a longer shelf life. Firmness levels are based on the pressure required to penetrate the open side of the melon; Algae BioMax melons rated a 7.3 for firmness, compared to a 5.5 rating for a competitor’s melon.

“It’s clear from these results that Algae BioMax has had a profound impact on crop market value,” says AlgaeBio’s co-founder and CEO Andrew Ayers. “The Algae BioMax-fertilized melons have more vitamins, minerals, and digestible nutrients.  They’ve got a longer shelf life, which means producers can ship them further and they last longer in the store. And they score incredibly high for firmness, texture, color, and taste.”

Algae BioMax delivers 74 bioavailable nutrients, vitamins, and trace elements, precisely when they’re needed, to maximize crop germination, growth, and development. The Algae BioMax system is believed to be beneficial to all manner of agricultural crops, including grains, oilseeds, legumes, fruits, and vegetables.

AlgaeBio has filed a U.S. patent application for the Algae BioMax system, and continues to develop and refine the system to further assess benefits, operating partnerships, and market potential.

 

 

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