Syngenta, Alta. firm to study blight fighter

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        Farm Business Communications, 3/18/2010

        By Staff

        Syngenta’s Canadian crop protection wing will work with an Edmonton biotech company on research trials for a potential new weapon against bacterial blight in beans.

        Innovotech, a product development company that evolved out of research at the University of Calgary on biofilm formations of bacteria, has been working on a novel seed treatment to control bacterial blight in plants.

        Under the two companies’ agreement, Syngenta Crop Protection Canada will put Innovotech’s antibacterial product, oxysilver nitrate, to the test in research trials.

        While fungi and other bacterial forms exist in the soil as part of a “dynamic” agricultural system, crops such as beans can be “greatly affected” by bacterial diseases, Guelph-based Syngenta said.

        “Bacterial blight is a serious problem for many crops with very few acceptable control products available to Canadian producers.”

        On its website, Innovotech says it has already filed with Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for regulatory approval of an oxysilver nitrate-based seed treatment product, which it calls Agress.

        Innovotech describes Agress as “a high oxidation state silver compound that effectively kills bacterial and fungal pathogens while being non-toxic to plants and animals,” meant initially for use in the bean, soy and “general pulse crop” market.

        The Edmonton firm lists a number of seed-borne bacterial and fungal diseases it says Agress can control in beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas and soybeans.

        Innovotech said it also plans to expand Agress’ label for treatment of seed diseases in canola, corn, and wheat.

        Syngenta’s announcement on research trials refers only to oxysilver nitrate, not mentioning a specific formulation, nor the name Agress.

        Canada’s ag industry, Innovotech says on its website, “is in need of more effective products to treat a host of crop diseases where current technology is either inefficient or poses environmental safety risks.”

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