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SBIR Phase I: Novel Biomimetic Production of Broad-Spectrum Fungicide BioSurF-I
Phone: (574) 329-3427
Phone: (574) 329-3427
The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project will be the development of a biofungicide for application on organic farms as well as conventional farms and home and lawn care as an alternative to chemical fungicides. More than 70% of all major crop diseases are caused by fungi. Despite intensive disease control practices, these pathogens are still causing crop losses averaging 13% with economic losses up to $100 billion annually. The proposed research will address the need for sustainable food production by development of methods/technologies to reduce or eliminate the usage of chemical pesticides. It will reduce the impact of plant pathogens, insect pests, and abiotic stresses on crop plants by inducing systemic resistance in crops. Unlike chemical fungicides, it will be eco-friendly and will prevent development of anti-fungal resistance in plant pathogens. Furthermore, reduction in chemical fungicide usage (produced using fossil fuels) will reduce US dependence on fossil fuels and promote environmental sustainability. This SBIR Phase I project proposes to develop a novel, broad spectrum, biofungicide for crop protection as an alternative to chemical fungicides. The novel broad spectrum fungicide is based on a fermentative strategy utilizing non-pathogenic microorganisms and low-cost carbon substrates. Antifungal activity testing in in vitro and in vivo assays demonstrated broad spectrum fungicidal activity against multiple fungal pathogens that cause diseases in cereals, fruit, and vegetable crops. The use of chemical fungicides produced from fossil fuels has been shown to have adverse environmental effects on non-target organisms, and mammals. In addition, combinations of chemical fungicides are required to attain crop protection, yet fungal pathogens quickly become resistant to chemical fungicides. The proposed broad spectrum biofungicide has no mammalian toxicity, and has been shown to be safe for non-target anthropods like honey bees. It also has been shown to not inhibit the growth of beneficial fungi. As part of the Phase I research plan, the aims are to scale up production and test the biofungicide under development in small plot trials.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *