“Open sesame”: Equinom seeks to boost yield and nutrition profile of sesame seeds

636857318307410606seeds.jpgSeed technology company Equinom has launched its unique patented sesame variety to open opportunities for the cultivation of sesame. The company has developed high-yield sesame seeds that provide an advanced nutritional profile, as well as a shatter-resistance trait that makes them suitable for mechanized harvesting.

Equinom’s technology aims to help local farmers eliminate waste, boost oil-yield by up to 100 percent, improve quality and reduce the crop’s global footprint. The innovative sesame seeds also help farmers on marginal lands secure added income and diversify output, according to Equinom.

Sesame is touted as a versatile, low-maintenance and economical crop to cultivate. It thrives in arid to tropical climates and can tolerate extreme heat of up to 50°C. When sesame pods ripen, they shatter easily, dispersing the seeds. As a result, they must be harvested manually.Equinom sesame plant with buds.

However, Equinom’s technological advancement can provide local farmers with a new platform for growing sesame of a higher nutritional profile and opening up opportunities for the advancement of a more responsible supply chain, greater price stability and cost-effective growth. This technology can also benefit farmers located in desert regions where extreme weather conditions threaten crop performance. According to Equinom, it also means that food manufacturers can incorporate highly nutritious, clean and safe sesame into their products.

Sesame grows particularly well in soils infested by cotton root rot and presents a promising side crop for US cotton farmers. Equinom hopes to bring increased cultivation of sesame to the US, Australia and the Southern regions of Europe with a sustainable crop that fits in with the marketing ideals of food companies and environmental values of consumers.

“The global sesame grain market is worth US$9 billion annually, which is a promising figure, however, still far from meeting its full potential,” says Itay Dana, Marketing Director for Equinom.

“Part of the Equinom strategy is to boost yield performance as well as the nutrient profile, while scaling-up global commercial growth and trading of this highly nutritious seed. By deploying our innovative breeding technology, we can transform the dynamics of a stagnant market, ensuring product safety and traceability throughout the supplying chain,” he explains.

According to Equinom, the sesame that has been bred has a superior nutritional profile and is suitable for a variety of innovative and commercial products, including baking, confectionary, tahini, oil and flour.Equinom sesame ready to harvest.

“The product started to go commercial in the US and Australia in late 2018. The commercial concept means that our seeds are now f‘ixed,’ stable and experiencing uniform growth that can repeats itself. It will be available to hotter southern regions of countries including such areas as Texas in US, Australia and Turkey and southern parts of Europe where hot dry climates are conducive to the cultivation of sesame,” Dana tells FoodIngredientsFirst.

Sustainable sesame seeds
Sesame is drought resistant and its deep taproot allows exploitation of soil nutrients and moisture reserves. Growing sesame requires limited fertilizer and water, and little or no use of pesticides due to naturally high levels of disease and insect tolerance. It fits almost any cropping system and conforms to most planting and irrigation methods, notes the company.

“We are determined to make sesame a more profitable crop for farmers and to develop sustainable sesame cultivation in the West,” says Oron Gar Ph.D., VP and Product Manager for Equinom. “These sesame varieties are a game-changer for food companies that want full control of their supply chain to ensure food traceability and safety. Growing high-quality sesame locally also ensures consumers get clean, nutritious products from farm-to-fork.”