[ASC-media] Media release: ripening revolution

JCA Media jcamedia at starclass.com.au
Tue Aug 10 22:57:23 EST 2004

Sir Mark Oliphant Conferences 2004 Media Release

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


The piece of fruit that resembles a cricket ball - or else a mushy object fit only for compost - may soon be a thing of the past.

Healthy fruit, ripened to perfection, is the goal of the networks of smart sensors soon to spread through Australia's orchards, vineyards and horticultural farms, predicts Dr David Garman, Chief Executive of the CRC for Environmental Biotechnology.

Dr Garman will tell the 2004 Sir Mark Oliphant Conference on Converging Technologies for Agriculture and Environment that low-cost biosensors will "sniff" the ripeness of fruit crops, alerting the farmer to the ideal time and place to harvest. They will also mount a lookout for attacks by the molds and mildews that can destroy a crop.

The result will be better quality fruit for the consumer, less waste throughout the food chain, reduced use of ripening chemicals, preservatives and pesticides and higher returns to the farmer.

"We envisage a network of cheap volatile organic carbon monitors spread through an orchard or field, constantly sniffing to detect ripening or attach by mould. The farmer will have a hand-held diagnostic device to diagnose what's going on before it's visible.

"The result will be less fruit that is under- or over-ripe reaching the market, even where a crop ripens at different rates," Dr Garman explains. The same technology will keep watch throughout the food chain, during transport, handling, storage and delivery, ensuring export customers and consumers get the quality produce they seek. 

Dr Garman will present his paper on the future for converging technologies in waste reprocessing at 5pm today, Tuesday, August 10th.

The 2004 Sir Mark Oliphant Conference on Converging Technologies for Agriculture and Environment is on from August 9-12 at the Duxton Hotel, 328 Flinders Street, Melbourne.

More information:
Dr David Garman, Environmental Biotechnology CRC, 0408 280 135
Pepita Maiden, Environmental Biotechnology CRC	, 02 9385 4977
P.maiden at ebcrc.com.au

At the conference:
c/- Duxton Hotel, Melbourne, 03 9250 1888
or Richard Gill, CRC for Microtechnology, 0417 477 244      richard.g at microtechnologycrc.com

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