Innovation That Matters

The bio-based versions will ideally be able to replace the chemical fungicides currently in use | Photo source Steffi Periera on Unsplash

Chemical-free biofungicides fight crop diseases

Agriculture & Energy

The bio-based versions help reverse the growing worldwide fungal resistance in crops

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Spotted: With between 10 to 15 per cent of global crop losses occurring as a result of fungal diseases every year, Agtech startup Peptyde Bio has turned to naturally occurring antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) found in plants for a solution. Fungal resistance to chemical fungicides is growing worldwide, making new disease prevention options a priority for growers everywhere.

Using artificial intelligence (AI) to replicate a range of natural plant antimicrobials, the research team targets modifications to fight current diseases and any potential variants. With a focus on environmental safety, the AMPs that work most quickly, most effectively, and are the easiest to manufacture are then pursued for commercial development.

The company currently has more than 15 patents filed or issued and is seeking commercial partnerships for expanding production of the novel biofungicides. Being chemical-free makes the new AMPs less expensive to produce, environmentally friendly, and nontoxic. The company has recently raised $1.2 million (approximately 1.15 million) in a pre-seed funding round which it will use to develop more of its bio-based alternatives.

Agtech innovation is fuelling rapid change across the industry, for everyone from growers to transporters and retailers. Springwise has also spotted a pesticide sensor for food safety testing, and an online marketplace that connects growers with shoppers for a significant increase in transparency and earnings.

Written By: Keely Khoury




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