Bio2Coat: A functional, edible coating to prevent the deterioration of grapes

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21/12/2022

The greatest losses in the viticulture sector come from pathologies caused by fungi. Botrytis cinerea has the greatest economic impact, as it attacks all the green organs of the vines and mainly the bunches of grapes. It reduces the size of a grape harvest, and the quality of the grapes and the wines that are produced.

Currently, there is a high demand for effective, sustainable solutions to these losses that incorporate environmentally friendly products. These could be an alternative or complement to plant health treatments based on copper salts or other compounds that are potentially harmful to the environment. 

In this context, the demonstration project Bio2Coat will be developed. The project centres on a technology of functional, edible coatings against loss and deterioration of grapes for wine production and for the table. This is a technology based on natural compounds (it does not use plant health or synthetic products) that come from renewable resources. It has been developed by the Polyfunctional Polymeric Materials (POLY2) research group of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - BarcelonaTech (UPC). 

The Bio2Coat coating is comprised of a mix of biopolymers, natural plasticisers and bioburdens, whose base is a food composition that is suitable for celiacs and allergen-free. It includes a part of Attalea speciosa (Babassu) along with other compounds from food byproducts. The coating that is developed is applied in the form of an aqueous solution by wetting the bunches of grapes directly through spraying or nebulising. Once it has been applied and dries, a very fine film forms on the fruit that has two functions. It acts as a physical and chemical barrier that protects against microorganisms and it acts as a semi-permeable barrier to gases, and therefore controls the transpiration of the fruit. This improves the conservation and natural protection of the grape and its transport, storage and processing under optimal conditions. In addition, it lengthens, conserves and reduces losses throughout the chain and improves the appearance and quality offered to the end customer. 

 

Results and expected impact

The result of Bio2Coat is a technology of functional edible coatings that protect and conserve grapes, lengthening their life and reducing losses throughout the chain. 

Bio2Coat will contribute to reducing losses in the sector and will improve quality and food safety. It will have a direct impact on the reduction of losses and food waste, improvements in plant health, and the fight against and management of pests in the viticulture sector.

This technology has been protected by patents and transferred to the spin-off Bio2Coat SL. 

 

Budget and funding

This project will last three years (from December 2021 – June 2024) and has the support and collaboration of the Clúster Vitivinícola Català (INNOVI) and the Institut Català de la Vinya i el Vi (INCAVI). The total budget for the project is €50,000 and is funded by the call ‘Ajuts a les activitats de demostració en transferència tecnològica’ of the Programa de Desenvolupament Rural de Catalunya 2014-2022 (PDR 2014-2022), of the Departament d'Acció Climàtica, Alimentació i Agenda Rural, Generalitat de Catalunya.


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