Improving Hydroponic Cloning Success, Efficiency & Ecology

I’m a Biochemist, Engineer with a passion for sustainable agriculture and ecology. I developed PermaClone to eliminate the time and effort of replacing—or trying to sterilize—traditional cloning collars. The ideas was simple, except I’m a perfectionist with a soft-spot for ecology….and a disdain for consumables. The project was a matter of enhancing performance within the confines of eco-ethics.

The objective was a long-lasting, heat resistant collar that maintains food-grade status with frequent exposures to oxidizers (such as bleach and peroxide), UV resistant, while also avoiding petrochemical-based plastics. An exhausting list of requisites, but my first stop was polymer chemistry!

Polymer Chemistry

So..what’s a polymer? A polymer is a long chain of monomers (smaller molecules) linked together by molecular bonds--i.e. repeating units of monomers. For example, protein is a polymer of amino acid monomers. Starch (e.g. in potatoes) are polymers of sugar monomers. Most man-made plastics produced in the last century are generally polymers containing monomers derived from petrochemicals. That is, chemicals sourced from crude oil; archaic energy (hopefully deemed archaic technology soon). I’m not mad at mankind’s relationship with petrochemicals, but an advocate for sustainable paths.

With PermaClone, I achieved the goal of minimizing monomers derived from petrochemicals while selecting for molecular bonds that resisted oxidation, heat, UV light, and included additives that enhanced the strength and durability all within the confines of Food Grade guidelines. A collar that could be re-used by a user (not “consumer”). This IS the ultimate form of recycling! After all, sending your petrochemical plastics to the curb, to be picked up by a truck (fueled with petrochemicals), to be re-molded into a product (in a factory powered by electricity from coal) that is sold back to you at a store you drive to is a lot of petrochemicals (and money) and leaves your status-"consumer!"


PermaClone was a work in progress for a while. I played with my first design for a year before launching the website. Microwave sterilization was not immediately part of the project until my favorite restaurant owner in Austin, Stella (check out Julio’s Cafe in Hyde Park--authentic, down-home Tex-Mex) pointed out how they sterilized sponges in the microwave. Problem is, that relies on the sponge having water in it! Water is a microwave sensing molecule. Also one of the primary reasons microwaves function to heat our food.

PermaClone’s polymer blend didn’t readily absorb microwave energy at that point. While microwaves were clearly (thank you, Stella!) an efficient way to energize things. Problem was, by design, Permaclone didn’t hold water, so adding microwave sensing molecules was necessary. On my road to microwave sterilization I discovered properly sized (along with precise concentrations and blending) of nano-particles into PermaClone collars would turn PermaClone microwave sterilizable. Now one of the most popular features of PermaCloners big and small!

Chemical Sterilizabilty

While designing PermaClone I had a grow in a rural area where I had used the power supply to the oven to power the grow lights. As a consequence, I didn’t have an oven. For me, dunk-based sterilization was still important...and clearly this function was needed. Current collars were designed such that the point of plant contact was in-accessible to sterilizers. I had to pry open each collar, often weakening them, to attempt sterilizer contact. That’s where PermaClone’s gap comes in. PermaClone is shaped in an ellipse with a gap in the center. The gap partially closes when added to your cloner, but is otherwise wide open for effective dunk-based sterilization.

For those of you with a solid sterilizer recipe, PermaClone is physically engineered so that upon hitting your favorite sterilizer, all surfaces get sterilized.

In the end PermaClone improves the efficiency and yields, while decreasing long-term costs in time, money...or petrochemicals! PermaClone has also been 3rd party tested and approved for Food Grade status for continuous use by both EU and US standards. 

Get Sterile and Start Cloning - Buy PermaClone Collars Now - Click Here!

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