As early as 900 years before our era, Homer perceived the smell of ozone after electrical storms, and in 1785, Van Marum predicted that electrochemical machines gave off a “characteristic odor” when the air passed through electrical discharges. This same odor was described by Ciusank in 1801, in the hydrolysis of water, but it was not until 1840 that the German Friedrich Schönbein baptized it as “ozone”, from the Greek “ozein” which means to smell. At first, it was thought to be nitrogen oxide or oxygen peroxide, until in 1860 ozone was obtained from pure O2, and in 1922 the formula O3 was attributed to it.
It is now known that ozone is an allotropic form of oxygen produced by the action of the sun’s UV rays on atmospheric oxygen and that it absorbs UV radiation, which would be harmful if it reached the earth’s surface.
The German H. P. Otto succeeded in producing it artificially using electrical discharges and in 1906, it was used for the first time in a water treatment plant in France. There is bibliographic evidence that the German army, in 1915, used it to disinfect war wounds. In fact, in developed countries, ozone therapy is known as the therapy of eternal youth. The results of its use show that it is the most powerful natural disinfectant that exists. It is 12 times more soluble in water than oxygen and has greater disinfectant power than chlorine and hydrogen peroxide.
In addition to acting immediately and being effective at low concentrations (0.1 -2.5 ppm). It is a very unstable molecule, it is not residual, it is not packaged or stored, but is produced at the site where it is to be applied. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States has recognized it as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) for use in contact with food. In addition to the applications, at Innovaozono we have taken advantage of its high oxidation-reduction potential, applying it as a more viable alternative in the disinfection of surfaces, water, soil, and environments.
We have applied it with very good results in the cultivation of strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, chili peppers, papaya, and bananas, among others. Its use in agriculture is very versatile because with it we disinfect irrigation water, soil for planting, and other substrates, facilities, equipment, tools, and the people themselves in sanitary customs.
Ozone has the characteristics of an ideal disinfectant: it is broad-spectrum, that is, it is not selective but oxidizes everything it touches, and this property allows us to eliminate all types of pathogens present in the soil, whether fungi, batteries, nematodes, protozoa. It also decomposes organic matter into humic acids rich in phosphorus, which makes iron more assimilable. This is reflected in an immediate vigor in plants. Another benefit of ozone in the soil is the oxygenation of the root. Once the ozone is oxidized, it returns to its natural state, which is O2.
This is very convenient for the plant that in the soil requires oxygen to breathe and this virtually brings them back to life. That is why we apply it to oxygenate flooded soils in papaya crops.
On the other hand, it should be noted that ozone, although its action is not properly insecticide, we apply to the foliage, encapsulated in oil molecules, to control some pests, such as red spider mites, white flies, aphids, and thrips. It is also an excellent healing agent. Ozone is also an excellent alternative for pest control of stored grains using modified atmospheres.
In cold chambers, ozone in the form of gas controls pathogenic agents that degrade the health, safety, and quality of fruits and vegetables, eliminates unpleasant odors that cause rotting, and gives them longer shelf life, since it neutralizes the action of ethylene produced by them. Finally, it should be noted that ozone is gaining relevance in the field of agricultural disinfections, as a substitute for some chemical disinfectants, such as methyl bromide and Metam sodium, which due to their dangerousness and the risk they represent to health and the environment, are about to be removed from the market.
By: Ing. Martin Ramirez Falcon
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