Nat4bio is a young Argentinian startup that focuses on the thin layer of coating applied to produce. This serves two key purposes. First is the aforementioned pesticide requirement. Beyond dealing with insects in the field, growers and vendors have to reckon with microscopic threats.
The second is the ever-tricky ripening process. How, when, and where a piece of fruit should ripen isn’t a straightforward proposition. Some fruits, like bananas, are often picked when green and encouraged to ripen en route to their destinations. Berries, on the other hand, are different. In cases like that, where things start to break down rapidly, a good coating will delay the ripening process.
“The product is made of two main compounds, both of them are obtained through microbial fermentation of native and non-GMO strains,” co-founder and CEO Joaquin Fisch tells TechCrunch. “The first main compound is a glucose-based polymer. It’s combined with other food-grade excipients in a very small quantity. Those excipients are meant to provide the formulation-desired mechanical properties, such as viscosity, adherence, and elasticity of the film.”
In addition to protecting the produce from potentially harmful microbes, it also limits the exchange of gases that accelerate the ripening process. The company is currently targeting produce grown in Latin America, including its native Argentina, as well as Chile, Peru, and - potentially - Mexico.
Photo source: Nat4bio