SBIR Phase I: A protein-based biofungicide for agricultural use
This SBIR Phase I project will develop a plan to use a protein normally produced in plants, to control phytopathogenic fungi. They have cloned a gene that encodes for this protein, expressed it in bacterial vectors, demonstrated activity against three phytopathogenic fungi, demonstrated activity on a grass, and they have done RNA interference to show that this gene is responsible to confer protection in plants.
The broader/commercial impact of the project will be the targeted use for organic farms. The properties of this compound seem appropriate for that use. The results of these studies will demonstrate that protein-based biofungicides are possible and they will have implications for understanding the importance of preformed plant defenses in the disruption of pathogen infection strategies.
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