US: Invention cleans air in spud cellars

John O’Connell/Capital Press
Garry Isaacs stands inside his Chubbuck, Idaho, shop with a humigation machine. The machine, popular in potato storages, rids the air of particulates while increasing humidity.Reed Searle says he’s found a cost-effective way to rid potatoes in storage of diseases without using additional chemicals. The Shelley, Idaho, farmer has installed machines called “humigators” — invented by businessman Garry Isaacs and manufactured in a small, local shop — in all seven of his potato cellars. Isaacs’ invention continuously recirculates the air, removing pathogens and particulates while boosting humidity, which also reduces losses to tuber shrinkage. Searle, who raises red and yellow potatoes, once struggled to protect spuds in long-term storage from silver scurf and black dot. “Since I’ve used (humigation), I have not had that problem,” Searle said. “This is about the only thing that really gives you season-long control.” Isaacs, founder of Isaacs Hydropermutation Technologies, developed the prototype of his invention in 1985, initially planning to use it for industrial emissions control. More