In an ambitious move aimed at advancing postharvest food preservation, MustGrow Biologics Corp. and Janssen PMP, a division of Janssen Pharmaceutica NV (one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson), have announced a significant expansion of their Exclusive Evaluation and Option Agreement. The revised terms of the partnership will now include exploring mustard plant-based technologies for postharvest storage applications for both potatoes and bananas on a global scale.
The need for practical yet sustainable fungicides has long plagued the postharvest banana market. Geoffroy de Chabot-Tramecourt, Director of R&D and Business Development at Janssen PMP, points out that “developing a natural technology acting as an anti-sprouting and as a fungicide for stored potatoes is a major opportunity for Janssen PMP and the industry.”
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), potatoes are the world’s fourth most important food crop. Yet, a significant percentage of yield—up to 33%—is lost annually due to postharvest issues. Expanding the Agreement to include potatoes aims to develop natural technologies for sprout suppression, a critical component of potato storage.
In general, postharvest loss in fruit and vegetable crops is a significant concern for food security and environmental sustainability. Over one-third of produce is lost or wasted in postharvest operations, equating to approximately $1 trillion. The use of harmful chemical treatments, many of which are now either banned or ineffective, has contributed to the urgency for sustainable alternatives. This collaboration signifies a significant step forward in developing such alternatives, particularly for potatoes and bananas, major global crops.
Janssen PMP has long been a world leader in postharvest product development, bringing over 50 years of experience to the partnership. Collaboration with MustGrow benefits not only Janssen PMP but also promises to accelerate MustGrow’s development timeline. Colin Bletsky, COO of MustGrow, emphasizes that “Janssen PMP brings more than 50 years of relevant postharvest development and market experience, and it is expected that adding these two key storage applications will help accelerate the commercialization pathway.”
Given the urgency to find sustainable solutions for postharvest loss and the promising results from their initial 15-month evaluation work, the expanded Agreement between MustGrow and Janssen PMP holds significant promise. The partnership aims to deliver innovative, effective, and, most importantly, sustainable solutions for postharvest food preservation, thereby contributing positively to global food security and environmental sustainability.
MustGrow is an agricultural biotech company focused on developing organic biocontrol, soil amendment, and biofertility products. In collaboration with its leading global partners, including Janssen PMP, Bayer, Sumitomo Corporation, and Univar Solutions’ NexusBioAg, MustGrow aims to replace harmful synthetic chemicals with sustainable, mustard-based organic solutions.
Janssen PMP is a division of Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, a part of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. The division specializes in developing and formulating new and highly effective active substances and end-use products to protect materials and food, mainly fruits and vegetables. With over 50 years of experience in Postharvest treatments and Plant Protection, Janssen PMP is a world leader in this space.