Murdoch University plant disease researcher Kirsty Bayliss developed the chemical-free treatment for fresh produce that increases shelf life, prevents moulds and decay, and reduces wastage.
“Our technology will directly address the global food security challenge by reducing food waste and making more food available for more people,” Dr Bayliss said.
“The technology is based on the most abundant form of matter in the universe: plasma. Plasma kills the moulds that grow on fruit and vegetables, making fresh produce healthier for consumption and increasing shelf-life.”
After working on preliminary trials for the past 18 months, the team is now preparing to start scaling these up by working with commercial food producers.
Dr Bayliss will travel to San Francisco later this month after being selected by the Nasa-founded innovation platform Launch as part of an annual food innovation challenge it organises.
She said that this was a huge opportunity: “I will be presenting our research to an audience comprising investors, company directors and CEOs, philanthropists and other influential people from organisations such as Fonterra, Walmart, The Gates Foundation, as well as USAID, DFAT and even Google Food!
“What is really exciting is the potential linkages and networks that I can develop; already Nasa are interested in our work!”
The technology will also kill bacteria associated with food-borne illnesses, including salmonella and listeria.