Strict protocols apply to all our hydroponics facilities.
To prevent disease:
- we only use sterilised seeds and growing media
- growing containers are scrubbed and sterilised between crops
- no cuttings can be taken from other fresh produce
- no food is allowed in hydroponics
- if you have been smoking or handling fresh produce, you must wash hands and change clothing before entering hydroponics
- we carry out daily monitoring for introduced invertebrates, fungi and disease
The hydroponics facilities undergo constant cleaning. All waste materials are removed.
Every year, the facility shuts down for a thorough cleaning. All plants and growing materials are burnt in the station incinerator. Liquid waste is disposed of in the sewage treatment plant. The entire unit is scrubbed and sterilised. A new growing medium is introduced for the next crops.
Expeditioners entering the facility observe strict hygiene controls. Insects and fungi spores can hitch a ride, especially from other fresh food. To avoid this, anyone working in the kitchen must wash hands and change clothes before doing any hydroponics work.
Tobacco can carry the mosaic virus that afflicts tomatoes and capsicums. To avoid this virus, smokers wash hands and change clothes before entering the facility.
Monitoring for insects is carried out daily. Insect traps are set throughout the facility. The hydroponics officers are trained in alien invertebrate collection and incident reporting procedures. They collect any insects found, and send the dead specimens back to Australia for identification.
In the case of insect infestation, the hydroponics facility would be closed down immediately. All plants and growing media would be incinerated. The facility would be thoroughly cleaned and sterilised before introducing new plants.