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December 30, 2009 > Keeping water and food safe the Purfresh way

Keeping water and food safe the Purfresh way

By Steve Grant

When people think of High Tech, most think of things like microchips, software, the internet, GPS or computers... but food and water are part of high tech innovation, too.

Purfresh, an innovative company in the Warm Springs District of Fremont, has taken many elements typically perceived as high tech and combined them to increase food supplies and purify water. Purfresh President and CEO David Cope explained, "We're very different than a normal Silicon Valley company. We're really focused on markets and provide a family of solutions for market places. We view ourselves as taking really cool Silicon Valley technology and packaging it in a way that creates these clean tech solutions and delivering it to the food industry across the entire supply chain,"

Purshade helps increase crop yield and reduces water consumption. Farmers use this spray-on product to selectively screen plants from harmful light in the ultraviolet and infrared part of the spectrum, but allow the beneficial light through. Acting much like sunscreen, this reduces sunburn and water usage. Spraying a crop with Purshade can increase yield by as much as 50 percent. "Think of it as an SPF45 for crops," says Cope.

To further increase crop yield, Purfresh has developed a line of ozone-producing products and supporting software that follows fruits and vegetables through processing plants and transportation systems. These products include Purfresh Wash, Purfresh Cold Storage and Purfresh Transport.

Purfresh Wash utilizes a Purfresh-developed ozone generator to dissolve ozone, a powerful, natural disinfectant, into the water that cleans the crop at the processing plant. It kills pathogens and controls a broad spectrum of food-borne and water-borne micro-organisms. Using ozone in the cleaning process enhances food-safety practices and eliminates the need to use harmful chemicals such as chlorine.

Many fruits and vegetables are stored before being transported to consumers. Cold storage is used to preserve freshness. By adding a Purfresh Cold Storage unit and its supporting software, the storage facility can further decrease spoilage by reducing air-borne and surface micro-organisms. "Our system is designed to be able to react to the organic load presented by respiring plants that are producing ethylene. The ozone reacts with ethylene and instantly converts it to carbon dioxide and water vapor," explained Cope. Supporting software, Intellipur Informatics Service, provides monitoring of the storage unit using a wireless connection to the internet. With this software link to the storage facility, an operator can instantly receive the "health" status of stored crops.

Once a crop is ready for shipment, it must be transported to the consumer. Year round fresh fruits and vegetables rely on farming in other parts of the world. During winter months in the United States, it is the peak growing season in the southern hemisphere. Travel from Argentina to the United States for example requires refrigerated, containerized cargo units for imported fresh produce.

A Purfresh Transport device is a compact ozone-generator and environmental-monitoring unit that can be added to a refrigerated container in as little as 15 minutes. This unit not only generates ozone for food preservation, it also contains sensors to provide complete environmental monitoring of the cargo. It monitors and reports, via the internet, the temperature, relative humidity, carbon dioxide, oxygen and ozone levels within the cargo unit. The cargo's location is also monitored using a GPS tracking device. "Whenever there is a situation in the market, where you need chemical-free, pathogen-free water and you don't want to use energy-intensive distillation or chemicals like chlorine, customers use us," explained Cope.

Purfresh Water is used in the pharmaceutical, personal care and bottled water industries. Much like Purfresh Wash in the produce industry, ozone is used to purify and disinfect water used in medicines, cosmetics and bottled water. Using ozone replaces more costly and dangerous alternatives of high heat and distillation.

From crop sunscreening to produce preservation to water purification, Purfresh is a highly innovative, "green" company dedicated to ensuring a safe and fresh food and water supply. Purfresh also supplies pure and safe bottled drinking water.

For more information about Purfresh visit www.purfresh.com

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