CaT™ technology – calcium as the main builder of plants

Plants absorb most (up to 90%) of the minerals necessary for their proper functioning through the hair roots in the soil/substrate. They get there in different ways: by fertilizing, mineralization of plant residues (organic matter), decomposition of minerals or together with water from irrigation or precipitation. Ingredients can be taken in two ways. The first is passive absorption, i.e. collection and transport by diffusion (concentration difference at individual places in the plant). This process is generally quite slow and depends on many factors. The second method is active absorption using certain carriers that provide a significantly faster effect. This process also allows for selectivity towards nutrients – thanks to a specific carrier, you can influence the uptake and transport speed of a particular ingredient.

One of the most important nutrients for the plant is calcium. It is a key component that builds cell walls in shoots, leaves and fruits. It provides durability and structural stability of plant tissues. It also influences many developmental processes, such as cell division and cell elongation growth, stomata closing, pollen tube growth or root hair growth. Its deficiency in those processes can cause disturbances and distortions. No reaction at the right time and no calcium supplementation results in many problems at the final stage of vegetation or after harvest, disqualifying fruits or vegetables from trade or lowering their market value. These are, for example, carrot cavity spot, tubers internal bruising or bitter pit by apples. As for all berries, calcium is necessary to improve their firmness and durability, reduce mold and softening, which ultimately affects the higher storage capacity of individual fruits and the extended shelf life of these products.

It is known that calcium is a low-mobile nutrient and plays one of the key roles in the nutrition of berry plants. It moves in the plant mainly through xylem transport, which provides the most ingredients and water to organs showing large water losses (such as leaves). Fruit and shoots have much less stomata than leaves, so for them xylem transport is not so efficient. As a result, much less calcium gets there than is required for proper development. Still, a large proportion of the total amount of this ingredient is taken from the soil, because foliar spraying is not always effective, although it seems to be the only solution for so low mobile components. Plant Impact, which is part of the Croda International group, has been researching the uptake, circulation and use of calcium by a plant for decades. PI has developed a unique technology on the global scale that optimizes the circulation and distribution of calcium in plant tissues, aimed at improving the quality of fruit and vegetables.

CaT™ technology, based on a synthetic molecule, has been patented in over 20 countries around the world (including whole Europe). This molecule stimulates calcium channels in cell walls, thanks to which it increases the cytoplasmic concentration of calcium ions in cells. This, in turn, improves the circulation of calcium ions in plant tissues in a symplastic way (through cytoplasm, through the “alive” part of the plant), which is very important for cells with low transpiration (such as those in fruits and shoots), and thus weak apoplastic transport (through interconnected cell walls). Such an increase in the cytoplasmic concentration of calcium ions in cells also occurs for a short time in the event of abiotic stress (sudden changes in temperature, salt stress, mechanical stress). CaT™ technology significantly extends and strengthens the effect of increasing calcium levels.

Plant Impact research has confirmed that the patented CaT™ active particle significantly improves calcium availability through systemic enhancement of its activity and mobility in the plant.

The research conducted together with the University of Lancaster with the use of HortiCaltech using CaT™ technology. Aquorin – a photoprotein found in jellyfish, generating blue light when activated by calcium, was applied together with the universal calcium product and the HortiCaltech. Experiment has perfectly proven the systemic action of the CaT™ molecule in plants. The images from the experiment consist of 120 photos taken in an 8-hour time period to show light emission in places where calcium levels have been increased. The model organism was Radish (lat. Arabidopsis thaliana).

More light = more calcium

The amount of light emitted was quantified using a luminometer and was proportional to the cytoplasmic concentration of calcium ions ([Ca2 +] cyt).

For the first control with water, no change in calcium concentration was noted, which is obvious.

In the case of controls with an ordinary calcium product, a slight change in the concentration of calcium in the tissues is noticeable, but in principle only at the place of application with a pipette.

HortiCaltech with CaT™ technology not only significantly increased the concentration of calcium at the application site, but also launched systemic transport and increased the concentration of the ingredient in the whole plant.

The advantages of using HortiCaltech include significantly reduced quality disorders of fruit and vegetables, improved storage capacity, increased firmness and durability and, as a result, increased productivity and profitability from plantations. Certainly, the product’s great advantage is also its excellent miscibility with other preparations and plant protection products, which allows reducing the number of treatments, as well as the possibility of performing the treatment at any stage of plant development.

After a series of extremely successful series of blueberry trials carried out in Poland, Chile, Peru, Scotland and the Netherlands in the 2019 season, and just being conducted experiments in Spain and excellent results in all other crops such as apple, cherry, strawberry, lettuce, tomatoes and potatoes conducted in whole Europe, in this year we have planned further experiments with the HortiCaltech in the cultivation of raspberry with doctor Paweł Krawiec. Last year’s study by doctor Krawiec showed an improvement in the structure of the fruit based on the assessment of the strength necessary to crush and tear raspberries. A very important observation was the reduction of fruit molding during storage after using HortiCaltech. These observations motivated us to re-examine the use of the preparation in the cultivation of raspberries.

This year’s trial, implemented within the Raspberry Factory project, run by Jagodnik and Horti Team, involves two variants of using HortiCaltech:

  • through fertigation – 8 treatments will be performed at a dose of 1 L/ha, starting from first flowers’ petals fall stage (app. 7 days after beginning of flowering), repeated in that way to apply planned volume of product until the end of the season (app. every 7-10 days). HortiCaltech will be added to the tank with calcium nitrate.
  • foliar – a universal form of HortiCaltech application. The same amount of HortiCaltech will be applied (8 L/ha), however 4 treatments are planned every 10-14 days at a dose of 2 L/ha, starting from first flowers’ petals fall stage (app. 7 days after beginning of flowering).
  • control is a standard, professional fertilization program.

The results of the experiment will be discussed during the implementation of the Raspberry Factory project.

The article was published in Polish on Jagodnik website:

You can find full product description here: HortiCaltech

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