At Fruit Focus 2022, Engage launched Fortify Maxx™. Building on the success of their Fortify platform of market-leading biostimulatory technologies such as Fortify Cu and Fortify XD, Fortify Maxx™ introduces a brand-new technology, phenophites.
Fortify Maxx™ has been in development since early 2016 when Engage began the hunt for natural alternative stimulants to inorganic versions within their Fortify range, phosphites being one example, to support crops under oxidative stress, which is still the number one disorder and reduces the overall yield and quality potential for fruit crops across the world. Growers can supply exactly what fruit crops require for optimal growth, fruit set, and fruit development. However, their crops are still at the mercy of growth-limiting factors such as extreme low or high temperatures, high and low humidity, deficient or excessive rainfall, adverse weather conditions, water pH and salinity, heavy metals, ultraviolet radiation, and even pathogenic pressure. All these factors have the potential to create oxidative stress within cells and regularly do. All crops are under stress of some kind daily, but normally the plant can cope with low levels, but once stress exceeds these levels, different mechanisms are triggered.
So, what is oxidative stress and why do we need to reduce its effects on crops? In simple terms, oxidative stress is a complex chemical and physiological disorder that accompanies virtually all biotic and abiotic stresses in higher order plants. It develops as a result of the overproduction and accumulation of compounds known as reactive oxygen species (ROS). These are regarded as by-products of plant aerobic metabolism and are generated in several cellular organelles within cells. Overproduction of ROS leads to DNA damage, the catalysation of calcium for stress relief rather than growth, cellular potassium leakage, and will eventually lead to cell death if left unchecked.
Dedicated research by the nutritional industry over the past 30 years has proven that using plant extracts high in phenolic compounds can reduce stress. Seaweed is a great example of this in that that provides phenolic compounds such as flavonoids, vitamins, amino acids, phenolic acids, phytohormones, tannins, lignans, and coumarins, and its use is widespread across the world to support crop health and there are many other natural plant extracts that do a similar job in support of crop health.
With Fortify Maxx™ Engage is taking this further: rather than providing extracts from other plant species to try and support the stress relief system, Fortify Maxx™ uses specific plant extracts to stimulate plants to generate more phenolic compounds itself. This way the compounds are far more in tune with the plant’s chemistry and physiology and therefore more effective at reducing the production of ROS, making plants far less susceptible to damage from oxidative stress.
So, what is Fortify Maxx™? It is a package of three chelated micronutrients and, unique to Engage, plant extracts called phenophites taken from specific plant species naturally attuned to withstanding higher levels of abiotic and biotic stress. The nutrients and phenophites work together to increase the natural production of phenolic compounds from secondary pathways to significantly limit a plant’s susceptibility to stress of any kind.
Fortify Maxx™ has been in trials across Europe with focused work at UJI International in Spain and the results so far have been extremely positive in elevating phenolic compounds.
Mark Horner, technical lead at Engage explains: “We have run the formulation of Fortify Maxx many times at UJI due to their ability to measure the elevation of specific phenolic compounds. We know specific phenolic compounds are highly elevated once Fortify Maxx™ begins stimulating the plant. These compounds have been found to be 36x the normal levels when compared to other stress-relieving compounds and their effects on the reduction of oxidative ROS species in both in vitro and field trials has been very exciting”.
Engage will now move to larger field-scale trials and is looking to work with selected growers across the world to look at individual stresses. The product is also now commercially available via Engage and its distributors across Europe. For more information on Fortify Maxx™ contact Engage on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.engageagroeurope.com