Eco-friendly Antimicrobial Solution for Pineapple Farming

Pineapple, a perennial fruit-bearing tropical plant, stands as an exceptional source of minerals and vitamins. It is extensively cultivated and harvested in tropical and subtropical regions. Following mango, it ranks as the second most significant tropical crop where Asia poses as the leading pineapple producers in the world.

In Malaysia, pineapple production operates at a comparatively smaller scale when juxtaposed with leading producers like other countries such as Brazil, the Philippines, China, India, and Thailand. Nonetheless, the pineapple industry within Malaysia harbors substantial potential for growth. This potential is actively pursued through the initiatives of the Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board (MPIB), aimed at facilitating the industry’s progression towards achieving noteworthy annual export targets.

As reported by The Star on July 6th, 2023, Malaysia’s pineapple plantation area in 2021 spanned 16,204 hectares, yielding a production value of RM675.7 million. Notably, Johor emerged as the largest pineapple plantation state, encompassing 63% of the total plantation area. Following closely is Sarawak, currently occupying the second position, boasting a pineapple planting area of 9,782 hectares with an annual production capacity of 181,000 metric tonnes.  Despite producing between 400,000 and 600,000 metric tonnes of pineapples annually, Malaysia’s contribution to the global pineapple demand remains at a modest 0.25%.

At present, Malaysia cultivates a total of 16 pineapple varieties, yet only four of these varieties are eligible for export to overseas markets. The exported varieties include MD2, N36, Morris, and Josephine, while the remaining varieties are primarily intended for the domestic market. Singapore, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Germany stand as prominent importers of pineapple products from Malaysia.

Disease emerges as a significant factor contributing to substantial losses in pineapple yield on a global scale. Diseases of pineapple are always associated with fungi, bacteria, viruses, and nematodes. Prominent diseases affecting pineapple crops, resulting in substantial yield losses, encompass mealybug wilt-associated virus, bacterial heart rot, fruit collapse, butt rot, fruitlet core rot, black rot, yeasty, and fusariosis. These diseases are extensively elucidated, encompassing discussions on causal pathogens, disease symptoms and signs, as well as the infection and developmental processes of each disease.

In pineapple, bacterial heart rot and fruit collapse are caused by the bacterium Dickeya zeae. The bacterial pathogen exhibits the capability to target various plant parts during distinct growth stages, contributing to soft rot diseases observed across a diverse spectrum of plant species. Upon infection, a pineapple plant’s vulnerability to disease could lead to the complete destruction of the affected plant and pose a risk of spreading to neighboring healthy plants. Hence, it’s imperative to implement effective controls to contain the disease. Presently, conventional techniques are employed in managing bacterial heart rot disease. Critical to preventing isolated incidences from escalating is the emphasis on sanitation practices, which serves as a key factor in averting the widespread proliferation of bacterial heart rot.

TOPLAND Plant Protect A-18 is an optimal antimicrobial solution for disinfecting bacteria and viruses, and it is non-toxic, non-polluting, non-irritating, non-corrosive, and leaves no residue. This highly effective antimicrobial solution swiftly eradicates harmful microorganisms, leveraging hypochlorous acid (HOCl) as its primary active ingredient. Interestingly, the hypochlorous acid is naturally produced by the body’s immune cells to combat infections.

TOPLAND Plant Protect A-18 can effectively act on causal pathogens affecting pineapples. As a potent antimicrobial agent, the active ingredient HOCl has the ability to disrupt the cellular structures and metabolic processes of various pathogens, thereby inhibiting their growth and causing damage. When applied appropriately, the HOCl can help mitigate and control the proliferation of causal pathogens in pineapple plants, aiding in disease management and crop protection.

TOPLAND Plant Protect A-18 offers several benefits in pathogen eradication:

  1. Potent Antimicrobial Properties: HOCl is highly effective in destroying a wide range of pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It disrupts their cellular structure and metabolic processes, leading to their elimination.
  2. Fast and Effective Action: HOCl acts rapidly upon contact with pathogens, swiftly neutralizing them.
  3. Non-Toxic Nature: Despite its potency against pathogens, HOCl is non-toxic to humans, animals, and plants when used at appropriate concentrations. This makes it safe for various applications, including in agriculture.
  4. Environmentally Friendly: It is non-polluting and breaks down into harmless components, making it environmentally sustainable.
  5. Versatile Application: HOCl can be applied through various methods such as spraying, irrigation, or fogging, providing flexibility in its use for different agricultural settings.
  6. Reduced Residue: Unlike some chemical disinfectants, HOCl generally leaves minimal or no residue, ensuring minimal impact on crops or produce.
  7. Potential for Disease Prevention: Regular use of HOCl solutions can help prevent disease outbreaks and contribute to maintaining healthier plants and higher crop yields.

Under the 12th Malaysia Plan, the government has established an ambitious target of achieving a pineapple production level of 700,000 metric tonnes by the year 2025. The Agriculture and Food Security Ministry, as part of its initiatives, has allocated RM23 million for the current year to advance the development of Malaysia’s pineapple industry. Malaysia’s pineapple export value has surged to RM1.2 billion, showcasing a consistent growth trajectory following the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a confident projection to further elevate this export value to RM1.3 billion by the year 2023.

The Chairman of MPIB has actively encouraged greater participation, particularly among the youth, urging them to seize the opportunity to engage in Malaysia’s flourishing pineapple industry. Pineapple, now recognized as a burgeoning source of wealth for the nation, has significantly bolstered the economy and income streams for farmers and entrepreneurs alike.

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