Michigan Patent of the Month – March 2022

Many different fruits, veggies, and plants need to be dried and cured. For instance, cannabis, prunes, berries and more. This curing process can take weeks, months, or even years depending on the intended purpose. Curing processes for teas are particularly long. Unfortunately, during this process there is a significant loss of product through mold, mildew, loss of terpenes, undesired browning and more. 

Some attempts at improving the process have used freeze-drying methods but this often degrades the product and is only applicable for certain end cases. Fortunata, LLC has designed a cryo-curing method which works for nearly all end cases. Their system first freezes the plant for 8 hours at a temperature between -40 °F to -20 °F and then cures it for 8 hours. That means the plant is ready within 20-46 hours as opposed to weeks or months. 

They’ve designed a cryo-curing machine to facilitate this process. The plant is laid out on trays in the machine. After freezing, the chamber is placed under a vacuum to achieve the pressure needed to cure it. Once pressure is reached, the temperature is increased to facilitate the curing.

The final product has a lower moisture content than traditional curing methods without any of the browning or essential oil loss. In the case of cannabis, a plant cured in the traditional method will lose nearly all of the terpene content while these levels are almost entirely maintained in the cryo-curing method. This improves CBD and THC extraction thanks to an improved final product. 

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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