Mold and powdery mildew are constant challenges that every grower has to contend with. High humidity levels in grow environments create a friendly place for molds and mildew to develop and thrive, which requires that growers have good SOPs and sanitization processes in place. As companies continue to scale up their business and increase the size of their facilities and maximize grow capacity with vertical grow environments, they also increase the risk potential of mold and mildew contamination. “The ability to pass regulated microbial lab tests is a constant battle and major concern for every grower in regulated markets,” Mike D’Ambra, founder of Innovative Solutions, explains. “Microbial testing regulations can be very strict and high yeast/mold & bacteria levels can cause growers and processors to fail their microbial lab tests and prevent them from being able to sell their product, which can have a significant impact financially. Or worse still, it can lead to product recall due to contaminant issues, which could be financially devastating to a company and can severely damage their brand.”
The importance of a proactive IPM
Mike further explains that it is extremely crucial to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to IPM. “Trying to remediate mold & mildew contamination after outbreaks or product that has failed microbial lab testing can be very costly and time and resource intensive. Also, some remediation processes that are used to destroy pathogens and reduce the microbial levels on cannabis have negative effects on the terpenes and the product quality. That is why implementing a proactive IPM approach with a robust sanitization plan is your best course of action and can help mitigate the risk of contamination and save you a lot of money in the long run.”
That is why Innovative Solutions has developed the ProGuard air and surface sanitation products, which will also be showcased during the MJBizCon in Las Vegas. “These solutions combine two different technologies that work together to sanitize the rooms and actively destroy mold, mildew and bacteria pathogens,” Mike points out. “ProGuard’s patented Multi-Cluster Ionization combines with an advanced photocatalytic oxidation process, which converts hydrogen molecules (humidity) into ionized hydro peroxide vapor.”
“Basically, our units restructure the air molecules, and redistribute them back into the air in the room, which then are able to chase down and kill mold, mildew and bacteria pathogens on contact. After its job is done, it goes back to its original state of water vapor with no residue left. What makes the ProGuard technology so effective is that it uses an ‘Active’ process that constantly sends these sanitizing molecules into the cultivation rooms which then sanitizes both the air and surfaces throughout the entire room.”
“Our active sanitization process is able to seek out and kill pathogens right at the point of origin even on surfaces, which includes eliminating mold and mildew spores on the plants, benches, lights and in the air, creating a clean room environment that helps growers produce cleaner flower and be able to pass their microbial lab tests without any negative impact on terpenes or product quality."
Sanitizing a commercial cannabis facility is complex and different from any other industry, due to the large grow room environments that are densely populated with hundreds or even thousands of plants. According to Mike, many of the sanitization products being introduced to the cannabis industry were originally designed for residential or small commercial applications and are not able to effectively handle the size and microbial load of commercial scale cannabis cultivation facilities and greenhouses. “The ProGuard sanitization products were designed and engineered specifically for the needs of the cannabis industry, he explains. “Our Multi-Cluster Ionization is a game changer because it works synergistically with our Photo-Catalytic Oxidation technology which allows us to create a significant amount of sanitization that is required to effectively sanitize large scale cannabis cultivation environments. ProGuard's sanitization process actively sends out the sanitization throughout the entire room 24/7 to help prevent contamination problems from occurring and allow growers to maintain clean room environments that allow their plants to thrive. This allows cultivators and processors to proactively protect their facilities and help them meet GMP and EU GMP requirements.”
Safe for people and plants
"Another important thing is ProGuard technology uses an organic sanitizing process that is completely safe for people and plants. We have numerous 3rd party field studies in large-scale cannabis facilities that show ProGuard technology has no negative impact on terpenes or the product quality whatsoever. This is critical because some sanitization technologies have been shown to have a negative impact on the terpenes or medical properties of the product."
One of the major challenges that growers encounter is when they find themselves in the process of scaling up their operation. Therefore, also the IPM needs to be scaled accordingly, in order to keep the crop healthy and safe in any scenario. “The ProGuard DXM units are small, lightweight, easy to install, use very little energy and are plug and play, making them very easy to implement and scale to manage any size indoor and greenhouse facility. We have customers of all shapes and sizes, with customers that have only one room to some facilities having several hundred thousand square feet and getting amazing results using ProGuard technology", says Mike. "Our customers love the fact that our products are a very cost-effective solution that they can easily implement and requires very low ongoing maintenance.”
Innovative Solutions will participate in the MJBizCon in Las Vegas. You can visit the company at booth #C1924.