A world-leading snack company is seeking for natural and safe means to increase growth on key crops such as wheat and cocoa and/or to fight common insect pests and diseases such as fusarium head blight in wheat and Vascular Streak Dieback, black pod disease, pink disease and witches' broom in cocoa. The better on-farm productivity will lead to increased security of supply and superior product quality with credentials for sustainability.
Optimising the soil microbiome has been shown to increase the nitrogen fixing capability of the microbes found in the root system of the plant. This is of particular relevance to cocoa and wheat. There are natural compounds currently on the market that can successfully control diseases and pests. One successful example produces peanuts with a reduced level of aflatoxin through the application of a competitive strain of A. flavus. This strain is not capable of making the aflatoxin and out-competes the toxin-producing strains naturally present, thereby lowering levels to 3% of what it would otherwise be in shelled, edible-grade peanuts. In many cases, it is thought that the natural pesticides have sufficient efficacy but with the added advantage of much lower levels of detrimental side effects compared to the standard synthetic chemicals. As such, many consumers see them as having stronger credentials for environmental safety and personal safety.
The technology sought must be able to meet the following key success criteria:
Effective control pests – high survival rate of strains
Easy handling materials (low environmental sensitivity/ product stability to sunlight, humidity, temperature, rain)
Environmental friendly – biodegradability or do not persist in the local or downstream environment
Possible approaches include:
Liquid or dry formats
We are not interested in materials with very short shelf life or those that require a controlled supply chain.