InteliSpark client Zymtronix Catalytic Systems, Inc. has won a $100,000 contract with the United States Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture for the Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project, “A Seed-Coating Mixed Enzyme Formula for the Control of Fungal and Bacterial Pathogens”.
This project seeks to improve food security through the development of a novel crop disease management tool. Modern agriculture relies on the heavy use of pesticides to control plant diseases and protect crops from significant losses, and many of the most important disease control products are quickly losing efficacy due to resistance development.
Consequences of pesticide use include potentially negative effects on human health and the environment and selection for pesticide resistance, and the increased use of pesticides since 1960 has not resulted in a significant decrease in crop losses. Novel crop protection solutions will ensure crops are protected against diseases amid global trade and a changing climate which threaten to introduce or increase the severity of diseases in areas where they were previously insignificant. More sustainable practices are needed to protect arable lands from deterioration against the backdrop of intensive agricultural production as well as to protect effective pesticides from becoming obsolete through the selection of resistant pests and pathogens.
This novel method will reduce reliance on existing agrochemicals like fungicides and antibiotics, thereby decreasing the likelihood of resistance development while simultaneously providing an alternative, effective method for managing a broad spectrum of major crop diseases. The ultimate goal is to introduce a novel disease management product into the agricultural market which will reduce losses due to disease, increase profitability for seedling producers and farmers, reduce the occurrence of pesticide resistance, and reduce reliance on synthetic agricultural chemicals.