Roots achieves further success with RZTO heating technology

By Jonathan Jackson. Published at Feb 21, 2020, in Technology

Roots announced a further milestone today, this time pertaining to its proof of concept (POC) study on vegetables from the diverse Malvaceae botanical family.

There are a number of economically important species under the Malvaceae family, including cotton (various Gossypium species), cacao (Theobroma cacao), linden (Tilia species), durian (Durio species), Hibiscus, and okra (Abelmoschus esculentus).

The Malvaceae family contains ~243 genera and at least 4,225 different species of herbs, shrubs, and trees.

Roots has been testing its Root Zone Temperature Optimisation (RZTO) heating technology on the okra plant.

The company has successfully increased the yield of Okra plants by 78% under extreme cold weather.

The successful proof of concept (POC) study conducted in Southern Israel, was completed over a four month period with the technology activated only during the winter months to heat the roots zone of the Okra.

The system was able to maintain a stable root temperature of 22C despite air temperature fluctuating between 25C during the day and 8C during the night (see table below).

Roots CEO and Chairman Boaz Wachtel said of this latest success, "This successful POC potentially opens up another large market for Roots. Okra is part of the Malvaceae plant group with over 4,225 species so we will be looking to conduct POCs on other plants within the Malvaceae family.

“We are now carefully assessing the larger regions for Okra cultivation and we will be actively targeting key growers in these regions to share the POC results. The scope for the RZTO technology across plant groups and different geographies is only just being realised.”

Okra itself represents a large market opportunity with its seed market growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.8% and expected to be valued at ~US$352m by 2023.

This may have something to do with its health benefits. It contains magnesium, which can help prevent osteoporosis, is a good source of folate, which helps prevent neural tube birth defects and contains vitamin A, which helps keep eyes healthy.

Okra also contains thiamin, which is important for brain function.

Today’s news continues a solid run of news flow for Roots, which in the last couple of weeks alone has seen the company extend an important sales agreement with Israeli medical cannabis producer, Barlev Group.

Barlev Group signed a further A$30,000 order for Roots RZTO technology.

Italian producer Cairo & Doutcher has also been using the technology with great success and last week signed an exclusive binding agreement to sell a minimum of five Root Zone Temperature Optimization (RZTO) systems during 2020.

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