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Chile - Photoselective screens made to protect apple trees

The project is called “Improving the competitiveness of apple orchards with the development of photoselective screens adapted to the climatic and productive conditions for apple crops in Chile”.
It is an innovation carried out by the Faculty of Agronomy of the University of Concepción, together with the Foundation for Fruit Development (FDF), Delsantek (mesh manufacturer), the exporters Copefrut and Unifrutti, as well as apple producers (Agrícola Uni-Agri, Agrícola Argomedo Ltda. and Agrícola Coigue Ltda.) as partners. Together, they have managed the licensing of more effective screens to control the losses caused by sun damage and improve the productive and fruit quality potential of apple orchards.
This technological advance was highlighted by an academic in the Faculty of Agronomy, and coordinator of the project, Dr Richard Bastías. “One of the achievements of this project is that a patent application was sent to Inapi, and thanks to the good results of the project, the screens were licensed to a company in Chile and are now about to be launched commercially,” he stated.
Ximena Sepúlveda, head of the Intellectual Property Unit of the Vicerectory for Research and Development, said that “it is an innovative idea for which the University of Concepción requested a patent in 2016, and it is a project that serves to avoid the damage that the sun causes to fruit crops intended for export. It has been the result of studies carried out at Campus Chillán and it is already in the production stage, almost ready to hit the market.
The screen’s protection reduces the economic losses generated by adverse weather events or pest attacks, as found out with the commercial tests carried out in different areas, mainly in the Region of Maule, where several prototypes of monofilament meshes with threads of different colours were installed, obtaining positive results.
“The good results obtained in the field trials led to the acceleration of the process for the transfer of this technology, as the partner company Delsantek started to receive requests for these new screens by some producers. This allowed for the license to be granted long before the project was completed, which is an excellent indicator of the value of this solution for fruit growers,” concluded Sandra Araya, Executive Director of the Transfer and Licensing Office.
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