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Pimi Agro tests Idaho onion disease-prevention product

A California company called Pimi Agro CleanTech has completed a first round of trials on a product that could prevent two main onion diseases found in southern Idaho.

Idaho is one of the nation’s leading onion producers, with an estimated 8,800 acres harvested in 2009.

Right now there is no effective treatment to reduce Botrytis neck rot and Aspergillus black mold, which are the two main onion diseases in the southern part of Idaho. The two diseases can damage up to 40 percent of an onion harvest.

In its trials, Pimi is testing the efficacy of a product called OnionGuard that prevents rot, mold and other diseases common to businesses that process and store onions.

Recent trials were carried out with the University of Idaho, using treated and untreated Granero onions. After six months of storage, defects were reduced from 35 percent to 15 percent, the company said in a press release. The company plans more trials in July.

Chief executive Officer Youval Saly said Pimo Agro will begin a commercial trial of the product during the onion-planting season in September 2010.

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