October 25, 2019

How to Use Protein-drying Technology to Preserve Your Cannabis & Hemp

Our host Ellis Smith and guest N'Gai Barbero, of Protein Solutions Group ('PSG'), provide a look at an innovative and unique proteomic processing agent that protects, rapidly dehydrates, and preserves any natural substance without damaging cellular integrity. 

Host Ellis Smith talked with N’Gai Barbero, the exclusive Los Angeles Distributor for Protein Solutions Group. Barbero is a native to New York, but he has been working with Protein Solutions Group for around three years. He was promoted to Distributor after nine months with the company, but prior to this, he spent over 20 years as an Institutional Equity Trader in the Capital Markets. 

What Innovation does Proteins Solution Group have to Offer the Cannabis Industry?

One of the most common ways to dry cannabis & hemp is through hang drying it, which leads to chlorophyll degradation, losing potency in the process. The innovation that Proteins Solution Group offers the cannabis industry facilitates drying through reverse osmosis to dehydrate the crop, thus retaining more of whatever cannabinoids or terpenes were present in the plant. 

At the end of the dehydration process, one is left with a more cannabinoid-rich or potent cannabis crop, as nothing was removed or damaged in the process. This process is superior to most market alternatives for protecting and storing crops, although some exception is made for methods relying on heating or freezing, which are useful but more destructive to a harvest. 

How does this Product Work?

“Our product is multifaceted,” Barbero stated. “First off once applied it’s a water-based technology, so we send it in powder form, it’s protein-based powder, mostly based from whey protein. We also have a soy protein product that we make for Vegans, and we’re experimenting right now with a hemp protein product, but that’s very early stage.” Protein Solutions Group hopes to offer the hemp protein product next year. 

“The product is mixed with water, then applied to the plant by saturation (spraying), or submersion (dipping),” Barbero continued, “and once you apply it to the plant, the product forms a protein-based coating around it, protecting it from infectious bacterial infection, so you don’t have to worry about mold, or powdery mildew once you’ve applied the product on the plants.” As a defensive measure for farmers, this spray can be loaded into a backpack sprayer and work to keep grows safe from contaminants that can completely ruin a harvest. 

“Again, after that, once the product is moved into a low-humidity environment, the osmotic balance triggers the reverse osmosis. So, once you apply the product, you then have to move it into a controlled environment with certain restrictions: a humidity level below forty percent (40%) because that creates the proper imbalance between the outside air and the cells inside the plant,” Barbero said. Even lower humidities will speed up the process, as will positive airflow; with both, the product will work at speeds unheard of in the industry. In a demonstration in a grow tent, Barbero was able to get the biomass down under 10% moisture within 12 to 13 hours using the dehumidifier to lower the humidity to 15%. 

Those worried about this product dehydrating crop too much while still in the field, shouldn’t be concerned. As long as the plants are connected to the ground through their roots, they will be able to get water from the ground. It will only start to dehydrate itself once it is cut and moved into the dry room. 

“So once you move the product into a low humidity environment, the protein catalyst starts to work, and it starts to remove the water from the plant quickly, and it converts it from water inside to water vapor,” Barbero explained. He then went on to say that while working with cannabis & hemp they were able to drastically reduce the time it takes to dry, getting freshly harvested crops down to between 10-15% humidity levels within 24 hours. This does not come at the cost of the integrity of the plant and retains quality and potency in treated crops. 

Once this process is completed, the crop is ready to cure. 

What About Consuming Residual Byproduct from this Method?

Due to starting in the agricultural space, the product Protein Solution Groups uses to dehydrate is entirely made up of FDA approved GRAS certified ingredients. There are no carcinogens or other substances that would pose a risk to health. In addition to this, protein-dried products are safe to consume. It is a simple protein-based coating which is as safe to smoke as it is to eat in dehydrated fruits. 

Protein-dried products consistently retain the highest natural attributes of the source material while demonstrating an extended shelf life, without bacteria or oxidation, when stored in air-tight containers. There are buds that Protein Solutions Group dehydrated in July 2017 that are still smokeable. They have maintained aroma, quality, and consistency. The potential in being able to store cannabis for so long could save warehouses from turning into graveyards for invested capital due to harvests rotting while waiting to be processed.