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Patrick Van Dijck, Stixfresh/KU Leuven

"Sticker keeps fruit fresh for up to two weeks longer"

Together with the American startup Sttixfresh, the biotech team of KU Leuven has developed a sticker that can slow the rotting process of fruit by up to two weeks. "The idea was born in a garage box in Malaysia, where an inventor mixed all sorts of natural products based on healing and applied it to fruit. After a while he figured out that the fruit he had applied the mixture to was less mouldy than the other fruit," says Patrick Van Dijck, Chief Scientific Officer of Stixfresh and professor at the VIB-KU Leuven Centre for Microbiology. "An American entrepreneur picked up the 'discovery' of the Malayan invention and founded Sitxfresh USA. Then a test was done in Malayasia on 70,000 papayas, but it didn't always work consistently."


Patrick Van Dijck

"Promising results"
Stixfresh developed a sticker based on the Malaysian mixture, upon which a coating is applied to the non sticky side. The substances in the coating gradually evaporate and protect the fruit against fungal infections that can sprout on the peel," says Patrick. "The results of the Stixfresh sticker are promising but not yet consistent enough. This is because the plant extracts consist of a lot of different components and they can be dependent on the day on which the extract was taken." To put the coating together in a focused manner, the American founders came to Patrick and his team. "We have the technology to rule out the variables."

"Opening new markets"
At the moment we are focusing on stickers for apples, pears, mangos, avocados and citrus, but we certainly aren't ruling out other fruits and vegetables. We are also looking into the ripening process for avocados. We have to do a lot of research into all the different factors that influence the fruit, such as aging, ripening and anti mould and bacterial activity," according to Van Dijck. "The goal of the start up is to reduce food waste globally, but the stickers can also open new export markets, such as for Belgian apples and pears. We already work with various instances, such as with Mission Produce, but we have also been approached by a Dutch onion producer who wondered whether the stickers would also work on onion and leek. Our focus is currently on fruit, but we will certainly look into other products."

For more information:

Patrick Van Dijck
Stixfresh/KU Leuven
Patrick.vandijck@kuleuven.vib.be 

USA Head Office
Moody Soliman 
9805 NE 116TH ST.
Kirkland WA USA
+1 (833) 793-7374


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