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Biotalys’ first biocontrol proves consistent, high efficacy in global fruit and vegetables field trial program

| Source: Biotalys

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Fig. 1: Biotalys’ innovative biofungicide, BioFun-1, is highly effective against Botrytis cinerea both on strawberry plants in the field and on fruits post-harvest
Fig. 1: Biotalys’ innovative biofungicide, BioFun-1, is highly effective against Botrytis cinerea both on strawberry plants in the field and on fruits post-harvest
Results from the 2019 field trial program that included > 50 efficacy trials against major pests such as Botrytis cinerea and powdery mildew, and which took place across the United States and key European countries (* BioFun-1 at 3 rates, with rate 3 > 2 > 1 ** Biotalys program = BioFun-1 rotated into the standard IPM, replacing a commercial chemical fungicide twice)
Fig. 2: Biotalys’ innovative biofungicide, BioFun-1, is highly effective against powdery mildew in vines
Fig. 2: Biotalys’ innovative biofungicide, BioFun-1, is highly effective against powdery mildew in vines
Results from the 2019 field trial program that included > 50 efficacy trials against major pests such as Botrytis cinerea and powdery mildew and which took place across the United States and key European countries

BioFun-1 provides growers with a novel mode of action to address increasing fungicide resistance

Environmentally friendly, innovative biofungicide with potential for pre- and post-harvest applications

GHENT, Belgium, May 06, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Biotalys NV, a transformative food and crop protection company, today announced the results from more than 100 field trials with its first, breakthrough biofungicide, BioFun-1, which is on track to launch in the United States in 2022, followed by global market introductions. Developing a new generation of protein-based biocontrol solutions, Biotalys aims to help farmers protect yields and reduce food waste by both preventing crop loss and extending post-harvest protection with sustainable and safe products.

In 2018, Biotalys demonstrated that BioFun-1 provided competitive and consistent protection against Botrytis cinerea when compared with commercial chemical fungicides and outperforming biologicals, in multiple crops and regions. In 2019, the company further expanded its testing program confirming high efficacy and consistency when compared with reference commercial chemicals and integrated pest management (IPM) programs across multiple pathogens, crops and regions.

The 2019 field trial program took place across the United States and key European countries and included more than 50 efficacy trials against major pests such as Botrytis cinerea and powdery mildew. These diseases considerably impact yields and quality in a wide range of fruit and vegetables crops, and are responsible for significant food losses, pre- and post-harvest.

In solo applications, Biotalys’s biofungicide, BioFun-1, provided high protection against multiple pathogens in the majority (over 85 percent) of the trials compared to the untreated control. BioFun-1 showed a clean dose response curve, allowing dose rate modulation to adapt to the disease pressure conditions. Under severe disease pressure a higher dose rate provides comparable protection to the chemical reference without the challenge of residues for the growers.

In 89% of the trials, the IPM program with BioFun-1 in rotation with commercial fungicides performed on par with the standard chemical IPM program, resulting in comparable yield, fruit quality and post-harvest shelf-life while chemical residues were reduced by up to 68%.

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/956a8073-bce8-414e-80dd-21d8081755b5

Hans-Jürgen Rosslenbroich, an independent advisor to the company with more than 30 years experience in product development, including biologicals, commented, “The innovative mode of action of the new Biotalys biofungicide demonstrated a dose-dependent control of economically important plant diseases like Botrytis and powdery mildew in the open field trials. Dose rate-dependent control of plant diseases in field trials that can be hardly seen with biologicals, especially when based on living organisms, is an important step in the development process and could be a unique differentiator for Biotalys innovative biofungicide.”

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/3b1039e3-a70b-40fc-9be0-24a0dbd75240

The next field trial program is already in process. Spanning more than 150 field trials in various crops and different environmental conditions in Europe, South Africa and the United States, the 2020 field trial program will support the regulatory efficacy data package and will focus on the intrinsic activity of the biofungicide, field efficacy validation and characterization, and the impact of the end-season positioning in harvested fruits and vegetables. This field trial program complements ongoing product safety studies that will support the registration dossiers on track to be submitted later this year in the United States and Europe, as well as the development and implementation of the product supply chain.

Luc Maertens, COO of Biotalys, added, “These results clearly indicate the unique potential of our powerful technology platform to deliver new food and crop protection solutions. Our first biofungicide provides growers with a reliable, novel mode of action product to maximize the yield of high-quality fruits and vegetables. The extended shelf-life of tasty, appealing fruits and vegetables with substantially reduced residue levels adds significant value by addressing the needs of both consumers and growers, reducing food waste and securing global export.”

About Biotalys

Biotalys is a rapidly growing and transformative food and crop protection company developing a new generation of protein-based biocontrol solutions, shaping the future of sustainable and safe food supply. Based on its groundbreaking technology platform, Biotalys has developed a broad pipeline of effective and safe products that address key crop pests and diseases across the whole value chain, from soil to plate. Combining the high-performance characteristics and consistency of chemicals with the clean safety profile of biologicals, Biotalys provides ideal crop protection agents for both pre- and post-harvest applications. Biotalys was founded in 2013 as a spin-off from the VIB (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology) and has raised €61 million ($66m USD) to date from specialist international investors. The Company is based in the biotech cluster in Ghent, Belgium. More information can be found on www.biotalys.com.



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US: Southern bacterial wilt is affecting Louisiana vegetable growers

Louisiana vegetable growers are beginning to see problems from southern bacterial wilt. This phenomenon is one of the most serious diseases of garden crops including tomatoes, eggplant and bell peppers, caused by the soil-borne bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum.

Raj Singh, LSU AgCenter plant doctor: “In addition to solanaceous vegetables, the bacterium can cause disease in a wide range of ornamentals. The pathogen is spread within fields by the movement of infested soil, in surface water and though the handling of infected plants.”

Infected plants rapidly wilt due to loss of water in the of leaves and stems, giving the plants a limp appearance, he said.

“Initially, these plants may recover overnight, but as the disease develops, rapid drying of the foliage occurs leading to permanent wilting and death of the plant,” Singh said. ”Brown, sunken cankers are often visible at the base of the plant near the soil line. Symptomatic plants exhibit discoloration of the vascular system and the pith.”

Managing southern bacterial wilt in soils previously infected with the bacterium presents a real challenge, Singh said.  Cultural management of southern bacterial wilt includes avoiding planting susceptible crops in infested fields, planting on raised beds, avoiding late plantings of tomatoes in areas known to be infested and using long-term rotations with non-host crops such as corn, beans and cabbage.

Commercial as well as home growers must follow good sanitation practices to reduce the spread of the disease including avoiding movement of infested soils, avoiding movement of stakes from known infested sites to new sites and proper cleaning of tools.

Source: daily-review.com

 

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TheScientist

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Researchers Try to Head Off “Murder Hornets” Coming into US

Asian giant hornets were found for the first time in Washington State and could reemerge in the spring.

Shawna Williams

Shawna Williams
May 4, 2020

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Members of the species Vespa mandarinia, a hornet infamous for wiping out whole colonies of honey bees and delivering painful and sometimes deadly stings to humans, have been spotted in the United States for the first time, The New York Times reports. Two dead “murder hornets” found in Washington State late last year have sparked a hunt for colonies, which researchers hope to eradicate before the species can establish a firm foothold in the area.

“This is our window to keep it from establishing,” Chris Looney, an entomologist at the Washington State Department of Agriculture, tells the Times. “If we can’t do it in the next couple of years, it probably can’t be done.”

As its name suggests, the Asian giant hornet is native to Asia; it is the largest hornet species in the world, with queens growing to about two inches long. When they invade a honey bee hive, they decapitate the bees and take their thoraxes back to their own nest to feed their young, quickly wiping out the bee colony. While Japanese honey bees have defenses against this predation, including surrounding a hornet and vibrating their bodies to produce heat that kills the invader, honey bee species in the US have no effective way to fend them off. “They’re sitting bees—or sitting ducks,” Looney said in a presentation delivered in February.

See “War Dance of the Honeybee

“It’s a shockingly large hornet,” says Todd Murray, an entomologist and invasive species specialist at Washington State University (WSU), in an article in a campus publication. “It’s a health hazard, and more importantly, a significant predator of honey bees.” The hornets don’t often sting people, but when they do, their stings are venomous and uncommonly painful, the Times notes. The stingers can penetrate protective beekeeper suits.

In addition to the sightings in northwest Washington, Asian giant hornets have been found across the border in southwest British Columbia, including a colony that was eradicated on Vancouver Island last September. In his presentation, Looney notes it’s not known how the insects reached North America, but that the most likely scenario is that queens stowed away on ships.

According to the WSU article, the hornets were likely to have grown active again in April as queens emerge from hibernation. University researchers are urging people in the area to learn how to identify the insects and to report any sightings.

Keywords:

agriculture
agroecology
ecology
ecology & environment
honey bees
honeybee
insect
insect behavior
nutshell
pollinators
wasps

Technology Networks

How Have Herbicide Regulations Impacted the Environment?

News   Apr 23, 2020 | Original story from the American Society of Agronomy.

How Have Herbicide Regulations Impacted the Environment? Atrazine is a common agriculture pesticide applied to crops such as corn, sorghum, sugarcane and turf. Credit: Yolanda Oberhofer.

 

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Dramatic loss of food plants for insects

Date:
April 24, 2020
Source:
University of Bonn
Summary:
Plummeting insect numbers are becoming a concern. A team of researchers have now demonstrated for the first time that the diversity of food plants for insects in the canton of Zurich has dramatically decreased over the past 100 years or so.
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Plummeting insect numbers are becoming a concern. Academic discourse focused on three main causes: the destruction of habitats, pesticides in agriculture and the decline of food plants for insects. A team of researchers from the Universities of Bonn and Zurich and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL have now demonstrated for the first time that the diversity of food plants for insects in the canton of Zurich has dramatically decreased over the past 100 years or so. This means that bees, flies and butterflies are increasingly deprived of their food base. The study, which is representative for all of Central Europe, has now been published in the journal “Ecological Applications.”

“Over the past 100 years, there has been a general decline in food plants for all kinds of insects in the canton of Zurich,” says Dr. Stefan Abrahamczyk from the Nees Institute for Biodiversity of Plants at the University of Bonn. The homogenization of the originally diverse landscape has resulted in the disappearance of many habitats, especially the wetlands, which have shrunk by around 90 percent. Human settlements have spread more and more at the expense of cultivated land, and the general intensification of pasture and arable farming has led to a widespread depletion of meadows and arable habitats. The researchers compared the abundance of food plants of different insect groups, based on current mapping for the years 2012 to 2017, with data-based estimates from the years 1900 to 1930 in the canton of Zurich (Switzerland).

The food plants of specialized groups of flower visitors are particularly affected by the decline. For instance, the Greater Knapweed (Centaurea scabiosa) is pollinated by bumblebees, bees and butterflies, as their tongues are long enough to reach the nectar. The decline is particularly dramatic for plant species that can only be pollinated by a single group of insects. In the case of Aconite (Aconitum napellus), for example, this can only be done by bumblebees because the plant’s toxin evidently does not affect them.

Overall, all plant communities have become much more monotonous, with just a few dominant common species. “It’s hard for us to imagine what vegetation looked like 100 years ago,” says Dr. Michael Kessler from the Department of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany at the University of Zurich. “But our data show that about half of all species have experienced significant decline in their abundance, while only ten percent of the species have increased.”

250 volunteers helped with mapping

Residents with appropriate botanical knowledge helped with the current survey. They mapped the entire canton of Zurich by plotting an area of one square kilometer each at intervals of three kilometers. The focus here was on the different types of vegetation and the abundance of different plants. “Without the assistance of more than 250 volunteers, who not only mapped the current flora but also processed the historical collections, a project of this scope would not have been feasible,” says Dr. Thomas Wohlgemuth of the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, who initiated the mapping project ten years ago with the Zurich Botanical Society.

The most important source on the earlier flora in the canton of Zurich was the unpublished manuscript of Eugen Baumann, a collection of about 1200 handwritten pages. It contains precise and detailed information on the abundance and distribution of plant species before 1930. Dr. Abrahamczyk researched which of the listed species belong to those flowering plants that are visited by insects in search of pollen and nectar. The “customers” include bees, bumblebees, wasps, butterflies, hoverflies, flies and beetles.

Results are largely transferable to Central Europe

Dr. Abrahamczyk has been working on pollination biology for about ten years. He wrote his doctoral thesis at the University of Zurich, then conducted research at the LMU Munich and joined the Nees Institute of the University of Bonn in 2014. When, in late 2018, his former doctoral supervisor, Dr. Michael Kessler, suggested that the recently completed mapping of the canton’s flora be combined with pollinator data, Dr. Abrahamczyk was immediately enthusiastic — also because this subject is highly topical. “The laborious literature search and analysis then took some time, and now the study could finally be published,” says the scientist from the University of Bonn. “The results are transferable to the whole of Central Europe with minor regional restrictions.”


Story Source:

Materials provided by University of Bonn. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Stefan Abrahamczyk, Thomas Wohlgemuth, Michael Nobis, Reto Nyffeler, Michael Kessler. Shifts in food plant abundance for flower‐visiting insects between 1900 and 2017 in the canton of Zurich, Switzerland. Ecological Applications, 2020; DOI: 10.1002/EAP.2138

University of Bonn. “Dramatic loss of food plants for insects.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 April 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200424132659.htm>

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Human activities are the No.1 contributors for the globalization of plant pests

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Ibadan, Nigeria
April 24, 2020

If there is anything the deadly COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it is that diseases do not know boundaries and humans are responsible for carrying and spreading diseases from person to person. This is also true for several plant pests. Humans are the leading carriers of the intercontinental spread of plant pests and diseases – a fact that was established and documented almost 300 years ago. Before you deny and vehemently protest, read on.

Do you remember the cassava, yam, sweet potato, plantain or avocado you carried with you the last time you travelled, because, “I do not like those people’s food, it is not delicious!” Or that beautiful flower you brought from your Europe or Africa-wide tour? Well, it could have harboured a pest, which you inadvertently boarded the plane or bus with and helped in spreading.

But this story is not to crucify you and make you feel guilty. The purpose of this story is to show you how you can put a stop to the spread of plant pests and diseases.

Lava Kumar, CGIAR-IITA’s head of Germplasm Health and Virology Unit, says one way to prevent the human spread of plant pests and diseases is to declare plants at border checkpoints.

“When you are travelling, a quarantine officer usually asks whether you are carrying food or not. You should declare what you are carrying so that it is inspected for pathogens. If it is safe, you will be given the green light to continue, if not, the officer will confiscate it for destruction.”

However, you will be excited to know that one can carry processed food since it is usually safe from pathogens. Kumar however advises that the right and better option is to get permission before bringing plants or plant parts.

“Quarantine officials will help you through the process of importing your favourite stuff” he added.  In this video, Kumar explains how humans move plant pests from one place to another, how this can be curtailed, and the international measures being implemented to curb the intercontinental spread of pests and diseases.

Pests and diseases that are foreign to a country/continent are called Exotic Introduced Pathogens (EIPs) Below is a list of some EIPs in African countries/regions in which they were first confirmed. These EIPs have caused devastating losses at country, regional and continental scale.

  • Cassava mealybug –  – Central Africa – 1970s
  • Banana bunchy top virus – DRC – the 1960s
  • Cassava bacterial blight – Central and West Africa – 1970s
  • Banana Black Sigatoka – Zambia – 1973
  • Asian soybean rust – Zambia – 1978
  • Maize chlorotic mottle virus (responsible for maize lethal necrosis) –Kenya – 2011
  • Banana fungal wilt caused by Fusarium oxysporum Tropical race IV (FoC TR4) – Mozambique – 2014
  • Papaya mealybug (Paracoccus marginatus) – Ghana – 2010
  • Taro blight caused by Phytophthora colocasiae – West and Central Africa – 2011
  • Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) – West Africa – 2016

 

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More news from: IITA (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture)


Website: http://www.iita.org

Published: April 27, 2020

The news item on this page is copyright by the organization where it originated
Fair use notice

science daily

Gene-editing protocol for whitefly pest opens door to control

Date:
April 23, 2020
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Whiteflies are among the most important agricultural pests in the world, yet they have been difficult to genetically manipulate and control, in part, because of their small size. An international team of researchers has overcome this roadblock by developing a CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing protocol that could lead to novel control methods for this devastating pest.
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Whiteflies are among the most important agricultural pests in the world, yet they have been difficult to genetically manipulate and control, in part, because of their small size. An international team of researchers has overcome this roadblock by developing a CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing protocol that could lead to novel control methods for this devastating pest.

According to Jason Rasgon, professor of entomology and disease epidemiology, Penn State, whiteflies (Bemisia tabaci) feed on many types of crop plants, damaging them directly through feeding and indirectly by promoting the growth of fungi and by spreading viral diseases.

“We found a way to genetically modify these insects, and our technique paves the way not only for basic biological studies of this insect, but also for the development of potential genetic control strategies,” he said.

The team’s results appeared on April 21 in The CRISPR Journal.

The CRISPR/Cas9 system comprises a Cas9 enzyme, which acts as a pair of ‘molecular scissors’ that cuts DNA at a specific location on the genome so bits of DNA can be added or removed, and a guide RNA, that directs the Cas9 to the right part of the genome.

“Gene editing by CRISPR/Cas9 is usually performed by injecting the gene-editing complex into insect embryos, but the exceedingly small size of whitefly embryos and the high mortality of injected eggs makes this technically challenging,” said Rasgon. “ReMOT Control (Receptor-Mediated Ovary Transduction of Cargo), a specific type of CRISPR/Cas9 technique developed in my lab, circumvents the need to inject embryos. Instead, you inject the gene-editing complex which is fused to a small ovary-targeting molecule called BtKV, into adult females and the BtKV guides the complex into the ovaries.”

To explore the use of ReMOT Control in whiteflies, the team targeted the “white” gene, which is involved in eye color. When this gene is functioning normally, whiteflies have brown eyes, but when it is non-functional due to mutations, the insects is supposed to have white eyes. The team found that ReMOT Control generated mutations that resulted in juvenile insects with white eyes that turned red as they developed into adults.

“Tangentially, we learned a bit about eye color development,” said Rasgon. “We expected the eyes to remain white and were surprised when they turned red. Importantly, however, we found that the mutations we generated using ReMOT Control were passed on to offspring, which means that a change can be made that is inherited to future generations.”

Rasgon said the team hopes its proof-of-principle study will allow scientists to investigate the same strategy using genes that affect the ability for the insects to transmit viral pathogens of crop plants to help control the insects and protect crops.

“This technique can be used for any application where you want to delete any gene in whiteflies, for basic biology studies or for the development of potential genetic control strategies,” he said.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Penn State. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chan C. Heu, Francine M. McCullough, Junbo Luan, Jason L. Rasgon. CRISPR-Cas9-Based Genome Editing in the Silverleaf Whitefly (Bemisia tabaci). The CRISPR Journal, 2020; 3 (2): 89 DOI: 10.1089/crispr.2019.0067

Cite This Page:

Penn State. “Gene-editing protocol for whitefly pest opens door to control.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 April 2020. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/04/200423130410.htm>.