To combat the ToBRFV virus (Tomato brown rugose fruit virus), the Dutch government has granted a temporary exemption for the use of Virkon. As a result, transport materials (such as Euro pallets and harvest carts) are disinfected with Virkon S, to reduce the chance that ToBRFV will spread in the greenhouse.
The use of Virkon S is only allowed when following strict usage regulations. Some entrepreneurs are concerned about this. The application of Virkon is not optimal in practice, but there is also no chemical alternative. Virkon needs to stay on the surface for a few minutes for optimal effect. It can cause harmful vapors and fluids and may only be used above paved surfaces. In addition, the chemical can be detrimental to machines and cause wear in specific engines. As a result, some machines must be replaced within 2 or 3 years. It was also recently discussed that Virkon’s extension will probably be undone and therefore, no longer be allowed in the Netherlands. Is there no alternative? Fortunately, there is, and it’s even safer and natural.
Sustainable and safe alternative
UVc by CleanLight has been used in tomato and cucumber cultivation to disinfect harvest carts against ToBRFV. UVc light affects the DNA of ToBRFV and prevents it from reproducing further. This causes the virus to die, just like bacteria, fungi, and other viruses. Harvest carts pass through special UV tunnels, and it’s a fully automatic process. This way of disinfection is, therefore, more reliable than traditional disinfection. A UV tunnel disinfects all outer surfaces of materials, which only takes a few seconds. UVc leaves no residue and is permitted by law. Disinfecting with UVc by CleanLight is a safe, sustainable, and natural way of disinfecting.