This article is part of a blog series introducing the startup teams of the EIT Food Accelerator Network Helsinki 2022 programme.
EOD Europe develops and offers novel technological applications to improve productivity throughout the food chain. We have water-based technological solutions for in-house farming and plant health, as well as for food production and microbial control. It is amazing how much we can do with just water and oxygen when these components are functionalised correctly for the purpose.
Chemicals have long been the only way to sanitise and tackle microbial challenges. EOD Europe offers an alternative to cleaning chemicals and biocides. Functionalised water with oxidising abilities leaves no residues behind and is safe for both users and the environment. In addition, biocidal chemicals tend to develop resistance against the constantly used chemicals. Functionalised water leaves no residues against which microbes are able to get used to.
A sustainable way to ease the food crisis
Decreasing chemical consumption is in a key role when aiming to improve the productivity of the food chain. Now chemicals can be partly or fully replaced with our functional water. This means that the plants will be healthier and grow faster, cleaning processes will take less time, and chemical consumption, product safety, and shelf life will be improved. As a result, the environmental impact of chemicals decreases.
We have already done successful collaborations with several companies. For example, on a strawberry farm, yearly crop loss caused by powdery mildew and grey rot decreased from 30% down to 2-3% with functional water spraying. In addition, the microbiological quality of meat and vegetable products improved when functional water was introduced into the food industry cleaning process. In general, the microbial stability of the production facility is clearly improved.
One way to functionalise water is to super-saturate it with oxygen. “Nanoboosting” the irrigation water with oxygen has already aroused great interest among greenhouse farmers around Finland. The topic is hot as the farmers can produce more crops from the same area with fewer fertilisers and biocides.
Regulations also drive farmers to find alternative solutions for plant protection. The European Green Deal has set targets to decrease pesticide consumption by 50% by the year 2030. We are helping the farmers to reach this target by improving plant immunity so that the plants will be less likely to get infected or damaged by microbes and pests. Healthy and well-being plants do not need biocides more than healthy humans need antibiotics.
Tools for companies to meet their environmental targets
Our goal is to be the best-known and trusted partner in the field, offering sustainable solutions that improve the safety and productivity of the food chain. We help companies to meet the requirements that come along with the Green transition. Today’s consumers are also very conscious and more often make the “better choice”. EOD Europe provides solutions that help companies to decrease their environmental footprint while they increase profitability and strengthen their position in the food market.
Wide scientific network and diverse team
We base our work on science. We have a strong specialist network and communicate directly with the scientists behind our solutions’ novel technology innovations. Therefore, we are able to do agile development actions and fine-tune the functions of the devices as we learn and grow together with our customers. Our research and understanding of the customer’s needs have contributed to us developing the best technology applications.
Within our team, we have valuable internal knowledge of different chemical-free technologies and have several novel technological applications in the pipeline that share the ideology of solving global challenges without chemicals. Oxygen-enriched water is for boosting healthy plant (and animal) growth, and water enriched with reactive oxygen species (ROS) eliminates pathogens and substitutes disinfectants and biocidal products. Moreover, the photonic solutions will cover areas where water cannot be applied, but microbial challenges are present.
In the future, we will be able to offer comprehensive support for companies to decrease their chemical consumption while improving safety and productivity.
Support for growth
In order to reach the goals, our start-up needs support for growth. The EIT FAN Helsinki programme has provided us with beneficial help to build a strong grounding for the company. Getting prepared and learning skills on successful fundraising rounds have also been very important. At the moment, we are looking for partners and funders who help us to break through with our modern technology applications that help the food chain to make sustainable actions needed by the changing world.
Written by Henna Niskakoski, Chief Scientific Officer at EOD Europe