Food safety companies have for long used radio frequency technology to disinfect food. Now this technology is being adopted by the marijuana industry in order to kill pathogens like mold and mildew while maintaining the quality of the marijuana.
The existing methods that were the staple in the industry all came with their own challenges, and this new technique addresses all those shortcomings.
For example, many companies use autoclave technology to disinfect marijuana. This method uses a lot of heat, pressure and steam to sterilize marijuana. While the method is effective, it also alters the taste, smell and color of marijuana. These changes make the marijuana less desirable.
Irradiation can also be used to sterilize marijuana, and this option is widespread in Canada. While effective, the method comes with serious challenges. For example, the cobalt 60 ionizing process creates carcinogens in the marijuana, and cannabis producers cannot conduct this process on their farms or processing facilities.
Hydrogen peroxide can also be used to kill pathogens. However, this only works for the pathogens on the surface of the marijuana. Hydrogen peroxide also triggers oxidation, and this results in burnt marijuana that is devoid of terpenes.
Growers can also opt for extraction in order to deal with a mold and mildew problem. While this method is effective, it converts marijuana into concentrates, and these fetch a lower price on the market yet growers want to sell marijuana flower.
As you can see, all the options above don’t pass all the necessary tests of scalability, cost-effectiveness, safety and being chemical-free. This is where the radio frequency (RF) method trounces them all.
RF equipment works by exciting the water molecules present in marijuana. The friction generated as the water molecules are excited generates heat. The equipment monitors this heat and turns off when it reaches a certain threshold.
The heat created kills all the pathogens in the substance that is being sterilized without compromising the quality of the product.
Ziel, a food and marijuana safety company, pioneered this method of killing pathogens in marijuana. Arthur de Cordova, the managing director of the company, says that they branched out into the marijuana space after a young man approached them during an expo in California and asked them to look into killing mold and mildew in marijuana since Diel specializes in sterilizing food.
They thought about that request and ended up modifying their machine so that it could handle small batches of marijuana at a time. The equipment they developed (the APEX machine) can sterilize about 20 pounds of marijuana in 15 minutes.
Industry watchers believe that marijuana companies like Canopy Rivers Inc. (TSX: RIV) (OTC: CNPOF) and Chemistree Technology Inc. (CSE: CHM) (OTCQB: CHMJF) will soon make this novel sterilization method an industry standard since it offers so many advantages that existing methods lack.
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