Low-tech solution to longer shelf-life

In ag biotech even more than in pharmaceuticals, low-tech, low-priced products are likely to jostle for consumer acceptance along with high-tech, high-priced goods. Fruits and vegetables are already commodities, and consumers count costs in pennies.

EcoScience Corp.'s Nature Seal, a wax coating made from vegetable-based materials, is one low-cost, low-tech solution to controlled ripening and prolonged shelf-life. ECSC will begin sales in papayas and limes this month and expects 1993 sales of $1 million. Made of GRAS (generally recognized as safe) materials and invented by USDA scientists, Nature Seal is water soluble and can be washed