Independent analytical data indicates active ingredients released from film
MONTREAL, March 31, 2020 /CNW Telbec/ - Imaflex Inc. ("Imaflex" or the "Corporation") (TSXV: IFX), announces positive interim results from a field trial assessing the efficacy of its next generation crop protection film, ADVASEAL®, compared to commonly used fumigants. Independent analytical lab results of ADVASEAL® samples collected at the trial site, in the three-week period following the film being laid on the ground, indicate that the active ingredients are being released into the soil in the desired manner. This is in line with the prerequisites for effective soil disinfestation, safe product use and pesticide registration relating to fruit and vegetable production. As originally announced on March 28, 2019, Imaflex has been working closely with an external party to coat the active ingredients on ADVASEAL®. That company is FUJIFILM Manufacturing U.S.A., Inc.
Fumigants are volatile pesticides that are essential in reducing weeds and soil borne pathogen levels in the soil before planting (soil disinfestation), giving young crops a good start in a low pest zone environment. Currently, fumigants offer the greatest efficacy for soil disinfestation, but they also have the highest health and environmental risk due to their volatility, toxicity and required application rate of a few hundred pounds per acre. Imaflex's patent protected film, ADVASEAL®, has been designed to replace this practice with an environmentally friendly, cost- and time-saving alternative that allows for the safe and precise application of pre-plant crop protection products, including an herbicide, nematicide and three fungicides. These five active ingredients are coated onto a mulch film and once applied to the ground they are released into the soil under controlled conditions. The current tested formulation for ADVASEAL® equates to a total application rate of less than one pound per acre for all five active ingredients. This is well over 95% less fumigants than that required for soil disinfestation today.
The Efficacy Trial is taking place in Florida and is now in its eighth week. It is being conducted by an independent research organization, well recognized by both the crop protection industry and regulatory agencies. The trial is evaluating ADVASEAL®'s ability to release its crop protection products into the soil and achieve soil disinfestation – prior to planting tomato seedlings – within the same three-week window currently required with standard fumigants for tomatoes. Concurrently, the trial is monitoring plant growth, yield and quality, compared to a crop grown under the current best Florida grower standard for fresh tomato production using fumigants. The tomato plant was chosen as a model crop, because it is the most widely grown vegetable in the world. Furthermore, if high yields can be achieved using ADVASEAL® with tomato plants, it can likely be used to produce high yields for most other fruits and vegetables that require pre-plant soil disinfestation with fumigants. Full trial results, including plant growth, yield and quality for both the ADVASEAL® test crop and grower reference will be released once the growing season is complete and the independent report is available.
"We are pleased to reach this key milestone, which moves us one step closer to the potential commercialization of ADVASEAL®," highlighted Mr. Joe Abbandonato, President and Chief Executive Officer of Imaflex. "The positive results we are seeing renews our confidence in the tangible financial and environmental benefits we can potentially offer growers worldwide." The agriculture industry is facing an expanding list of challenges, including climatic changes, less resources to feed a growing world population, slowing yields due to disease, increased focus on sustainable farming, rising production costs and competitive pressures to name a few. Consequently, growers are increasingly turning to other industries to help them do more with less.
"We worked closely with FUJIFILM Manufacturing U.S.A., Inc. on the development of the coating process for the active ingredient mixture, which allowed us to benefit from their expertise in high-speed coating technologies and functional film production," continued Mr. Abbandonato."Staffed with skilled chemists, process engineers and production technicians, Fujifilm has vast experience in bringing innovative products to market. Their state-of-the-art U.S. manufacturing and research and development facility in South Carolina is also impressive, with over 2.5 million square feet of manufacturing space under roof."
"Imaflex's expertise in advanced extrusion and innovative crop protection films is a natural fit with our extensive experience developing and commercializing new functional film products," said Mr. Todd Croker, President of FUJIFILM Manufacturing U.S.A., Inc. "Fujifilm has a longstanding commitment to protecting and preserving the environment, and we continually seek opportunities to collaborate with companies who share in this commitment."
Given the positive interim results, the Corporation intends to continue its pre-registration meetings with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and will meet to discuss results and next steps for the timely registration of ADVASEAL® as a new pesticide. This will include discussions on the design of a trial to determine the exact timing for the complete release of each active ingredient used with ADVASEAL®. This is required to show compliance with the pre-harvest interval legally established by the EPA for each pesticide used, which is essentially the wait time between ADVASEAL®'s application on the soil and when a crop can first be harvested for safe human consumption.
Today, agricultural films are used in the growing of fresh fruits and vegetables worldwide to cover soil treated with fumigants – volatile and toxic pesticides essential for reducing pests, weeds and fungi in the soil, thus supporting good growth of new crop seedlings.
The original EPA approved ADVASEAL® (ADVASEAL® HSM), contained only a herbicide for weed control. The new enhanced ADVASEAL® under development also includes fungicides and a nematicide to control soil borne pathogens, thus becoming a complete non-fumigant alternative for soil disinfestation. With ADVASEAL®, modern non-volatile crop protection products can be applied more effectively and safely than with fumigants. The crop protection products are incorporated into a coating, which is then applied to a mulch film. Once the coated film is applied to the ground the active ingredients are released into the soil under controlled conditions, preventing the over/under-dosing found with current soil disinfestation practices. This new technology dramatically reduces the amount of crop protection products required. The catalyst to trigger the release of the active ingredients is soil moisture. When the film is applied to the soil, they are efficiently and safely discharged into the ground, resulting in heightened productivity, lower costs and notable environmental benefits.
About Imaflex Inc.
Founded in 1994, Imaflex is focused on the development and manufacturing of innovative solutions for the flexible packaging space. Concurrently, the Corporation develops and manufactures films for the agriculture industry. The Corporation's products consist primarily of polyethylene (plastic) film and bags, including metalized plastic film, for the industrial, agricultural and consumer markets. Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Imaflex has manufacturing facilities in Canada and the United States. The Corporation's common stock is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the ticker symbol IFX. Additional information is available at www.imaflex.com.
Cautionary Statement on Forward Looking Information
Certain information included in this press release constitutes "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of Canadian securities laws. Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by the management of the Corporation, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties, risks and contingencies. The Corporation cautions the reader that such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual financial results, performance or achievements of Imaflex to be materially different from the Corporation's estimated future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by those forward-looking statements and that the forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. These statements are also based on certain factors and assumptions. For more details on these estimates, risks, assumptions and factors, see the Corporation's most recent Management Discussion and Analysis filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on the investor section of the Corporation's website at www.imaflex.com. The Corporation disclaims any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, events or otherwise, except as expressly required by law. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.
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SOURCE Imaflex Inc.