Precision Agriculture

Food Crop and Product Contamination Monitoring

Flex Alert provides an integrated mycotoxin monitoring system based on proprietary biosensor technology. The system employs wireless communication to deliver data to a centralized information control system that provides real-time access to information in the field, during storage and in packaged products. The implementation of Flex Alert’s solution enables users to rapidly respond to quality issues that impact food production, delivery costs and human health.
Data collected in the field is stored on the web server and can be further analyzed for patterns.

More details in: MicroFlex Field Node – Flyer

Biosensors

Flex Alert is developing RFID Sensors to alert manufacturers, consumers and distributors to the presence of toxins in: coffee beans, dried nuts, seeds, wine barrels and fresh fruit.

Intelligent Packaging

Flex Alert, with Vancouver-based partners, has developed a solution for the detection of toxins in packaged foods throughout the supply chain. Flexible RFID tags are combined with packaging to visually alert distributors and consumers to toxicity.

NanoMaterials Deposition

Please watch video of Functional NanoMaterials Deposition Facility of Flex Alert Company.

Pathogens

Already successful and patented for E. coli and Salmonella, Flex Alert biosensors are under development for the testing of aflatoxins and other pathogens. Aflatoxins have been strongly associated with liver damage and cancer.

  • Aflatoxins
  • E. coli
  • Listeria
  • Salmonella
  • Cork taint (TCA)
  • Botrytis
  • Powdery mildew

 

Wireless Realtime Monitoring

The core of this technology is the deposition of anti-toxins on plastic materials. Biosensors are connected to a wireless network for real time monitoring. Early detection allows farmers and manufacturers to take preventive measures.

Projects

2015-2017
Intelligent Cherry Pathogen Monitoring and Testing

Thanks to funding from the Canada-British Columbia Agri-Innovation Program and the cooperation of several fruit growers in Okanagan Valley, Flex Alert started a long term project in monitoring and tracking the quality of sweet cherries and grapes associated with pathogens during pre-harvest and post-harvest. Other fruits will be added as capacity becomes available.

cherries-bing-cherries 279x249

Fruit quality is a critical issue for over 500 growers in the Okanagan, who are usually located on small acreages with small crops and so are very sensitive to the cost of pathogen mitigation efforts. New web-based initiatives – including extensive use of smart phones, mapping, and low cost wireless technologies create a big opportunity for the large scale use of digital information in agriculture “from farm to table”. Several elements of the project include monitoring micro-climate conditions, soil moisture, water quality and management, monitoring of powdery mildew and botrytis, and using predictive software. Results of the project will potentially reduce the costs of food production, transportation as well as labour, and improve the quality of products.

 

2016-2018
Monitoring Cherry Rot and its Predictive Pre-harvest Analysis

The project goal is to install very low cost-wireless infrastructure in BC cherry growers orchards’ in the Okanagan Valley. This allows their owners to monitor the levels of pathogens and to predict their evolution during the growing season up to their presence in ripe cherries at harvest.

Life Cycle of Brown Rot in Cherries. Courtesy Vickie Brewster
Life Cycle of Brown Rot in Cherries. Courtesy Vicky Brewster

The assessment of native pathogens strains such as brown rot, powdery mildew and botrytis at various points of their life cycle has been done through DNA sequencing at the University of British Columbia.        This work will continue for several years to best correlate the proprietary predictive models with the presence of pathogens in cherry fruits.

2014-2015
Wireless-based biosensor network to detect mycotoxins in maize harvesting, in Tanzania

The goal of this R&D program was to develop the concept of easily deployable, low cost solar powered network that will allow small farmers in Tanzania to reduce the contamination and spread of mycotoxin producing molds by monitoring conditions during harvesting, storage and transportation of maize. As water quality and its management there are very challenging, part of the demonstration included its monitoring and open source GIS tracking of various trends.

Grand Challenges Canada

The participants of this pilot project were Grand Challenges Canada, NeoVentures Biotechnology and The Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015-2016
Spreading The Word

Jointly with SAWBO Animations Without the Borders we are developing a series of short cellphone movies in English and Swahili to educate farmers and their children on a number of issues related to food safety and prevention of crop losses in transportation and storage, drinking water quality and management. 
By now, SAWBO published several videos explaining best practices helping minimize Post Harvest losses. These videos are available in multiple languages, like English, French, Amharic (Ethiopia), Bengali (India), Chinese, Lingala (DR Congo), Portuguese (Brazil), Bahasa (Indonesia),
Urdu (Pakistan), Yoruba (Nigeria).