A number of essentials create the environment in which agriculture can prosper, and we cover these on our website, things like water, markets, skills, finance and so on. One which has gained much attention in recent years is biosecurity. The Bureau for Food & Agricultural Policy (BFAP), for example, warned that agriculture in the country is missing out on the greatest opportunities for inclusive growth because of shortcomings in its biosecurity (BFAP, 2022).

In this light we look at a company which came to our attention recently: Phend Pharmaceuticals. By adding nanotechnology to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) it has created Peroxsil, a highly stable disinfectant of many uses. The product “has superb antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial properties, killing organisms in the air, water, soil, and on surfaces”.

Peroxsil has the potential to reduce input costs for crop and livestock farmers. Although the initial cost may be higher than that of chlorine, with subsequent use the required dosage drops … and so you save money.

Chlorine, the base ingredient in most disinfectants is unstable – changes in pH and temperature can render it neutral. And the gas released from it is toxic to humans, animals and the environment. As Chlorine is increasingly frowned upon in export (and local) markets, Peroxsil becomes the obvious alternative. Peroxsil is chlorine and alcohol free, and after use it simply degrades into water and oxygen. It is colourless, odourless and biodegradable.

Douglas Spinas speaks of some of the success stories around Peroxsil.
  • Lamb mortalities in the Western Cape: Spinas investigated a particular farm’s water source, which turned out to have elevated levels of E.coli & Coliforms. Birthing pens had been “cleaned” with this water, and so the pens were sprayed with Peroxsil, and water for the ewes and lambs was sanitised with Peroxsil. No more fatalities were recorded afterwards from cryptosporidiosis, a disease which had been the culprit here and which has accounted for 10%-50% losses in commercial livestock elsewhere.

  • Water as a critical resource in the broiler industry: chlorine had been used unsuccessfully to deal with biofilm and micro-biological contamination. Biofilms can harbour and protect pathogenic bacteria, which can pose risks to bird health if they enter the drinking water supply. The use of Peroxsil in the water system and tanks dropped the dangerous levels of biofilms, E. coli & Coliforms, optimising clean water availability for the birds that is vital for enhancing production efficiency.

  • Improved shelf life for potatoes: After a big vegetable operation near Johannesburg found many pockets of potatoes and carrots returned with produce either rotting or sending out stems, it began using Peroxsil in its post-harvest crop washing, and results so far promise to translate into savings of around R21 million per year in costs.

  • Trials have also been conducted with citrus, tomatoes, floriculture, and the dairy industry but these have not been made public yet.
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