Large-Scale Cannabis Cultivators Use Radio Frequency Technology To Reduce Yeast and Mold

What do cultivators of tree nuts, edible seeds, spices, dried fruit, and cannabis have in common? They’re using radio frequency technology.

Radio frequency technology has been used in the food industry for a decade to make common household foods such as almonds safe for consumption – and now, cannabis cultivators are using it to reduce total yeast and mold count.

Cannabis regulations regarding yeast and mold are strict in order to ensure consumer safety. In Colorado and Nevada, agencies require cannabis to have a total yeast and mold count of ≤ 10,000 colony forming units per gram.

Some cannabis cultivators report success with using radio frequency technology by custom systems company Ziel to control yeast and mold count while keeping product quality high. 

Headquartered in Sacramento, CA, Ziel’s team of microbiologists, engineers, food scientists, and food safety professionals are experienced in designing and building custom process systems for the food industry since 2008. The company’s APEX System is serving cannabis cultivators by killing targeted pathogens, using the same innovative processes that treat household peanuts, pistachios and pumpkin seeds.

Ziel is focused on chemical-free, non-polluting solutions that are energy and space efficient alternatives. The company made its way into the cannabis space by working with Colorado-based cultivators Los Sueños Farms and The Green Solution.

Ketch DeGabrielle, former operations manager of Los Sueños Farms, said his outdoor growing operation tried ozone treatment, ultraviolet light, and microwave technologies to meet yeast and mold regulations, but all had a detrimental effect on product quality or potency.

DeGabrielle wrote “One square centimeter of mold can produce over 2,065,000,000 spores. If all of those landed on cannabis it would be enough to cause over 450 pounds of cannabis to fail testing, even if those spores remained ungerminated.”

Innovative Cannabis Product: APEX System

Ziel’s patent-pending radio frequency treatment process used in its innovative cannabis product, the APEX System, helps cultivators meet regulatory standards while preserving potency and terpenes using a non-toxic treatment method.

APEX treats batch sizes between 3-20 pounds in less than 10 minutes, treats cannabis pre- or post-cure, offers high terpene retention with limited to no THC loss or decarboxylation, and modifies moisture levels +/- 0.5%, according to the company website.

APEX works by first placing up to 20 pounds of cannabis in the machine to monitor the temperature in real time. “Radio frequency is then applied at 27.12 MHz creating an oscillating electromagnetic field between two electrodes, which causes polar molecules, such as water, present in the cannabis, to oscillate.

The rapid internal oscillation of the polar molecules generates heat volumetrically, which then kills targeted pathogens including yeast and mold. Processing time is typically 15 minutes or less.”

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