Another E. coli Outbreak – A New Solution to Help

Another continent wide romaine lettuce recall from an outbreak of E. coli is underway with 67 people reported sick in 19 states. The source of the latest outbreak was found in irrigation reservoir sediments. Chief suspect is wild animal feces entering the irrigation reservoir. The last several outbreaks began on farms in Monterrey, Santa Barbara, Salinas, and Santa Maria, California growing romaine lettuce.


The economic impact including costs of shipping, returns, taking the lettuce off shelves, plant destruction, medical care costs and increases in retail prices due to shrinking supply can be up to $350 million. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 265,000 STEC infections occur each year in the United States. E. coli O157:H7 causes more than 36% of these infections.

E. coli are bacteria that typically live in the intestines of healthy humans and animals. Most types of E. coli bacteria are harmless but some can cause severe diarrhea and urinary tract infections while more severe strains can cause kidney failure in children and other severe symptoms. 

Leafy greens are highly regulated in California but vulnerable to bacterial infections. The primary method for preventing E. coli is good hygiene in the grow facility and monitoring bacterial levels. Beyond these practices, there is little that growers can do to inhibit the spread of E. coli, especially once an infection has taken to a crop in the facility or in an areas where there are seceral grow facilities. 


CO2 Delivery Solutions’ Success Inhibiting the Spread of E. coli

CO2 Delivery Solutions has been demonstrated to inhibit the spread of E. coli by up to 99% in trials on pepper plants and Cannabis. CO2 Delivery Solutions dissolves and saturates CO2 gas into water to form an aqueous CO2 solution that is misted on to plant leaves.

The micro droplets create a thin aqueous film around the leaf surface isolating the leaf from the atmosphere. Gradient diffusion allows CO2 molecules to move into the leaf. This CO2 transfer occurs within 90 seconds and the moisture evaporates in minutes. Misting is done for a few seconds up to four times an hour during the light cycle.

The inhibition of single cell pathogens such as E. coli on plants is caused by the frequent aqueous CO2 misting. Aqueous CO2 is acidic therefore dropping the pH on the plant surface for a few seconds. Once the CO2 is transferred the pH rebounds back up towards neutral. This continual fluctuation in pH makes for an unfavorable environment for single cell pathogens such as E. coli, powdery mildew and others to thrive, thus inhibiting their growth and spread.

This pH volatility process is 100% natural without the requirement for any chemical sprays. Increasing the efficiency of CO2 uptake in plants from using CO2 Delivery Solutions also increases and accelerates indoor and outdoor crop growth resulting in higher biomass yields, faster cycle time for more harvests and reducing crop loss, all adding to grower profitability and consumer safety.

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