Jun 15, 2022
Novozymes, AgroFresh focus on post-harvest freshness

Biotech company Novozymes and post-harvest freshness solutions provider AgroFresh are forming a research and commercialization partnership.

Through the partnership, the companies will be developing products that can improve post-harvest food quality and minimize waste by fighting fungal pathogens. Resulting products, which will be developed for post-harvest applications, will benefit growers, retailers and consumers, as well as the environment, according to a news release.

“This is a very exciting venture into a groundbreaking area for Novozymes – with the intention to satisfy an increasing consumer demand for fruits and vegetables with less food waste and less impact to the environment,” Thomas Stenfeldt Batchelor, vice president of agriculture marketing and strategy for Novozymes, said in the release. “With great synergies, that include Novozymes’ expertise in pioneering bio-innovation and AgroFresh’s R&D capabilities and application knowledge, we will explore the development of viable and sustainable post-harvest solutions to also alleviate significant supply chain issues.”

The partnership is designed to pioneer the post-harvest use of biological solutions to reduce food loss and waste and improve the quality of the food system overall, AgroFresh Chief Technology Officer Duncan Aust said.

“AgroFresh and Novozymes share very similar missions around sustainability and the introduction of differentiated technologies to address unmet needs across the food chain,” Aust said in the release.

Photo: AgroFresh

Around one third of food produced is lost or wasted before it even gets to the consumer, with fruits and vegetables accounting for more than half of this amount. As soon as crops are harvested and removed from their growing environment, they begin to lose quality and eventually deteriorate. Fresh crops, such as fruits, vegetables and flowers, are particularly vulnerable to microbial attack and subsequent losses post-harvest, including cooling, cleaning, sorting and packing of the crop.

Novozymes and AgroFresh anticipate that development of new bioproducts will be accelerated by the combination of advanced biotechnologies from their deep scientific expertise in post-harvest solutions, global commercial footprint and unparalleled portfolio of integrated solutions to help maintain freshness and quality of fruits, vegetables and flowers.

Potential to meet growing challenges

With increasing demands on the global agricultural industry from consumer, economic and environmental perspectives, the partnership has the potential to create new sustainable products.

“The partnership with AgroFresh brings us the opportunity to expand our BioAg offerings into the post-harvest sector, just at a time when fruit and vegetable producers face some of their toughest challenges ever,” Novozymes’ Batchelor said in the release.

“We are excited to combine the unique industry and technology insights and scientific expertise provided by both organizations in the development of novel, sustainable solutions for the control of fungal decay in post-harvest fruits, vegetables and flowers, with the shared goal of minimizing food loss, improving quality, and increasing the overall sustainable footprint of the industries that we collectively serve,” AgroFresh’s Aust said in the release.

Facts about the partnership

Through the collaboration agreement, the companies will explore co-development of biological based solutions to control fungal pathogens in fruits, vegetables and flowers, and will leverage the AgroFresh commercial footprint.

AgroFresh will lead the commercialization of the new solutions for post-harvest application in fruits, vegetables and flowers. Novozymes’ BioAg business produces biological solutions for both broad acre and specialty crops. Its products increase plant productivity and protect crops from pests so farmers can produce more food, feed, and fuel with fewer inputs and on less land.

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