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About Biofortification

INNOVATION

VEGETABLE PRODUCTS NATURALLY ENRICHED IN LITHIUM AND SELENIUM

With the aim of ensuring a diet rich in diversified trace minerals, we have privileged treating plants during growth (i.e. ‘agronomic biofortification’) with solutions featuring trace mineral integrators i.e. aqueous solutions containing lithium and/or selenium and natural adjuvants (henceforth “Spray Solutions”) so as to naturally enrich fruits, vegetables, grains, rice, aromatic herbs and their by-products with said microelements.

The absorption of micronutrients and their transfer to the edible parts of the plants is increased by applying Spray Solutions to the leaves. Leaf applied substances enter the leaf either by penetration of the cuticle or via the stomatal pathway. Therefore, our foliar spray solution is one of the most effective and safest approaches to enrich the essential microminerals in crop grain and vegetable produce: “green” for the environment and without effect on the soil (i.e. a natural and ecological technique, friendly for plants, animals and human beings WITHOUT the use of GMOs).

In fact, if on the one hand, selenium is recognized as an antioxidant and anti-cancer, on the other, lithium, according to recent studies carried out in Universities in Germany and Japan, when administered in minimum doses, seems to have, on both the animal and human model, the effect of increasing life expectancy and preventing some diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and others that affect neuronal functioning. Hence from their combination comes a health product of immense importance.

The results of said research and field testing have led to Italian, EPO, Chinese patent and the application for an international patent (PCT/EP2012/076474) centered on the possibility of enriching crops during growth in these two trace minerals by spraying them with a targeted and customized aqueous solution containing the salts of these elements and the appropriate adjuvants.

FIELD TESTING RESULTS (a few case histories)

The following results seem particularly useful, considering that selenium and lithium are included in dietary references (i.e. RDA or Recommended Daily Allowance) in 0.055-0.070 mg (55-70 µg micrograms) and about 0.500-1 mg. (500-1000 µg micrograms), respectively.

Schedule on Natural Enrichment in Selenium and Lithium (on field)

Results of field treatment using the Spray Solution Selenium Increase

up to (µg/kg)

Lithium increase

up to (µg/kg)

Selenium  (µg)

Intake of 100 g

(% RDA 55-70)

Lithium (µg)

Intake of 100 g

(% RDA 500-1000)

RICE 900

(starting from 36)

450

(starting from 5)

up to 90

(i.e. up to

163.63-128.57% of the RDA)

up to 45

(i.e. 9-4.5% of the RDA)

SOYA 2148

(starting from 675)

9

(starting from 4)

up to 214,8

(i.e. up to 390.54-306.85% of the RDA)

up to 0,9

(i.e. up to 0.18-0.09% of the RDA)

KIWI 220

(starting from 30)

27

(starting from 8)

up to 22

(i.e. up to

40-31.42% of the RDA)

up to 2,7

(i.e. up to

0.54-0.27% of the RDA)

 

GRAPES 220

(starting from 2-6)

360

(starting from 40)

up to 22

(i.e. up to

40-31.42% of the RDA)

up to 36

(i.e.7.2-3.6% of the RDA)

WINE 45

(starting from 1-5)

320

(starting from 20-40)

Up to 4.5

(i.e. up to

8.18-6.42% of the RDA)

up to 32

(i.e. 6.4-3.2% of the RDA)

POTATOS 220

(starting from 12)

400

(starting from 43)

Up to 22

(i.e. up to

40-31.42% of the RDA)

Up to 40

(i.e. 8-4% of the RDA)

LETTUCE 75

(starting from 1)

90

(starting from 19)

Up to 7.5

(i.e. up to 13.6-10.7% of the RDA)

Up to 9.0

(i.e. up to 1.8-0.9% of the RDA)

Note: to date, the RDA of lithium has not been officially determined. However, a quantity of 500-1000 µg is no doubt confirmed by well-established scientific literature. In any case, it is possible to modulate the spray solution so as to further increase the lithium content in a vegetable product.

FUNCTIONAL VALUE OF LITHIUM

  • Improves the state of mind/mood
  • Stimulates the transfer of vitamins to brain cells
  • Increases life expectancy (decreases mortality)
  • Reduces aggressiveness
  • Protects the neuronal system and brain cells
  • Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s
  • Anti-aging capabilities

FUNCTIONAL VALUE OF SELENIUM

  • Reduces the risk of death and the cognitive decline in the elderly
  • Reduces thyroid gland infections and the concentration of own antibodies
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Increases male and female fertility
  • Reduces cardiovascular risks as it prevents plasma lipid oxidation
  • Anti-cancer effect in several types of cancer
  • Anti-aging and antioxidant capabilities

RESULTS

The results of said research and field testing have led to the application for an international patent (USA, INDIA, CHINA, EPC, ITALY are ALREADY GRANTED; PCT/EP2012/076474) centered on the possibility of enriching crops during growth in these two trace minerals by spraying them with a targeted and customized aqueous solution containing the salts of these elements and the appropriate adjuvants.

In addition, last June we filed a patent application concerning a fertilizer formula containing Selenium and Lithium which has led to some proven yield increases. In particular, we have deepened our knowledge of rice and soya, but we obtained consistent results on a different kind of yield for other vegetable produce too.

List of Comparative Advantages

  1. Due to foliar fertilization, the end result does not depend on soil composition;
  2. In comparison with traditional fertilizers a reduced & minimal quantity of fertilizers substances is needed;
  3. Reduced environmental impact (i.e. Green technology);
  4. Increase of nutritional food properties (i.e. chronic diseases prevention);
  5. The increase of yield (of production and/or after food processing).

How our technology works in practice

  1. An aqueous based fertilizer is sprayed on vegetables during growing in order to naturally increase the quantites of trace elements as lithium and selenium of the vegetable produce (agronomic biofortification).
  2. Plants metabolize micronutrients or trace mineral elements thus making them more bioavailable for the human body. In addition, there is an increase of biodiversity of the vegetable produce on the market.

What is the Advantage of our Technology?

  1. Simple to be prepared and used; suitable also for developing countries;
  2. Nontoxic;
  3. Not needing investments for new types of machinery on farmer’s side;
  4. The parts of the vegetable produce not edible for humans can be used as cattle/animal’s food for diseases prevention; in addition, there is evidence of an increase of micronutrients even in their meat.

Where and How

  1. Both for developing countries and for countries with high level of agronomic technology because of the scarcity of micronutrients (i.e. “hidden hunger”) is worldwide spread. As a matter of fact, hidden hunger does not depend on calories daily intake, but on the lack of variety of biodiversity of the product available on the market and of consumer awareness.
  2. Emerging countries such as Brazil, India, China, Africa, East European countries (Ukraine etc.) can be a desirable target. As well as, USA-EU-Japan.

 THE PRODUCT

At the moment we have focused on two options of standard foliar fertilizers available: a nitrogen fertilizer (i.e. nitrogen from organic matters – not from chemical synthesis) and microelements based fertilizer; both of them compatible with organic farming under EU and Italian regulations.

A third option would be to spray a water-based solution with selenium and lithium plus adjuvants.
However, while this third option is certainly feasible from an agronomic point of view, it is not convenient from a tax perspective because some tax deductions and low V.A.T. only apply to products classified as “fertilizer” in EU. As a matter of fact, under the current regulations, a water-based solution of the kind is not considered a “fertilizer” because Selenium and Lithium are not yet classified as “fertility elements” under the current EU and Italian regulations.

There are different suggested usages of the said fertilizers depending on the vegetable species at stake: a different number of fertilization treatments on the field, proper irrigation time and concentration of the components; We have the specific know-how on this.

In any case, once every project with farmers gets started fertilizer formulations maybe customized to comply with the specific characteristic of the plants on the field and of growing phases.

Fertilization may occur through ordinary equipment able to spray water and/or other chemical treatments on the field, pivot, aeroplane (i.e. whenever foliar sprinkling with thin drops is available).

THE TARGETS ACHIEVED

TECHNOLOGIES AND INNOVATION IN THE FIELD OF TRACE MINERALS

Our new technology for fruit, plant products and other vegetables: first of all, rice and soya followed by kiwi and grapes (juice, wine, etc.) potatoes and lettuce naturally enriched in selenium and lithium

Among our core businesses, in the foreground, there is always the research and formulation of wide-range functional foods. This context, which results from research carried out over the past twenty years, features rice and soya, kiwi and grapes (wine, etc.), potatoes and lettuce naturally enriched in lithium and selenium using a technology that can now also be applied to other vegetable produce, fruit, vegetables and their by-products studied purposely to favor the prevention of the onset of degenerative chronic diseases.

Technology for the selenium- and/or iodine-enrichment of potatoes

The enrichment of the potato – a widely consumed food – with selenium and iodine increases its health properties, due to the role played by said trace minerals in preventing illnesses such as human tumours and diseases linked to thyroid dysfunction, respectively.

Technology for the post-harvest treatment of vegetable products using iodine as an anti-germinant and/or with natural anti-tumours of vegetable origin (i.e. phytochemicals)

In the post-harvest treatment of vegetable produce, the formation of toxic products and the worsening of sensorial characteristics can be blocked, using anti-tumours of vegetable origin (i.e. phytochemicals) or traces of iodine as an anti-germinant.

OUR TECHNOLOGICAL PARADIGMS

AT THE SERVICE OF HEALTH AND WELL-BEING

The paradigm of the connection between agriculture, nutrition and research for ensuring a good state of health of people has always been the ethical underlying theme of reference to our work. From the point of view of the problem of malnutrition, for us this means that agricultural technologies, as well as food, must guarantee not only sustenance but first and foremost rare micronutrients to ensure full health through a complete diet, so as to eliminate so-called ‘hidden hunger’. In fact, hidden hunger, i.e. the lack of trace minerals in a normal diet, is a phenomenon that is present not only in the developing world but also in advanced countries where the problem of the deficiency of energy provided by food does not exist.

The main strategies brought forth to reduce trace mineral deficiencies are essential: teaching diet diversification based on the needs of male and female youths, adults and seniors; the direct micronutrient supplementation of food, but only using bioavailable natural substances; the selective bioenrichment of plant crops during growth (so-called ‘breeding’), i.e. the study of the nutritional properties of various plant varieties so as to opt for those featuring more useful characteristics, without genetically modifying existing varieties; the agronomic bioenrichment of edible crop parts using fertilizers or other technologies aimed at increasing the trace minerals contained in said crops during growth (so-called ‘agronomic biofortification’). It is in the field of agronomic biofortification that we have mainly focused ours R&D activities by developing aqueous-based solutions for foliar sprays able to naturally integrate trace minerals in vegetable products using technology that respects the environment (soil, plants, insects, animals) and not GMOs.

When treating the problem of trace mineral deficiency, the preferred solution consists of diet diversification with the consumption of foods rich in micronutrients, for improving the overall quality of the diet, as opposed to administering a single nutrient. This approach is supported by three different factors:

  • the complexity of nutrient-nutrient interaction increases the availability of the nutrient when the micronutrients are consumed simultaneously;
  • the growing evidence of the protective role of antioxidants and of the phytochemical compounds of plants, to ensure good health;
  • the expansion of scientific knowledge that links nutrition with the onset of diseases and entails a broader range of nutrients that carry out a variety of roles in health preservation.

It is in this direction that Prof. Pifferi R&D Director has directed the research and development of various patents, which include the selenium-enrichment of potatoes and the post-harvest treatment of vegetable produce using iodine and/or with natural anti-tumoral of vegetable origin (i.e. phytochemicals) as an anti-germinant. Finally, we studied and developed a turnkey agronomic enrichment technology with foliar spray solution for obtaining plant products, in particular, for Italy and the EU, grapes (and their by-products obtained through biological and technological transformation, e.g. juices, wine and vinegar), as well as rice, a food with marked nutritional characteristics, which constitutes the basic diet of more than one third of the world’s population.

ENOIL BIOENERGIES

Biotechnology & Renewable Energy Company

Developing a Sustainable Future

 

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is a Biotechnology and
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registered in Switzerland
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