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AgTech Biotech

Innatrix has been awarded a NSF grant of $225k to address critical crop losses

AgTech startup Innatrix has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research grant of $224,594 to conduct research and development on creating high-affinity protein ligands to address critical crop losses caused by damaging pathogens and pests.

Innatrix is developing technology for the production of high-affinity, high specificity protein ligands to protein targets of interest. It’s area of applied focus are the agricultural and pharmaceutical sectors.

“This award allows us to advance our mission to create environmentally-friendly, sustainable products that will allow farmers to overcome losses caused by pathogens and pests.”

Dr. Jiarui Li, Research Director at Innatrix.

Innatrix has also invented a proprietary apparatus named the EvoStat™. It is an automated platform for protein engineering and provides advanced control, reporting, recording, simulation, and remote access. Infra-red and image processing-based monitoring provides control of temperature, mixing, turbidity, medium supply, culture volumes and flow rates.

“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering.”

Andrea Belz, Director, Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…” NSF is vital to US because it support basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future.

The startup is open to collaborations in the agricultural sector in which the production of high affinity protein ligands to targets of interest would be beneficial.

Read more at Innatrix News.

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AgTech Biotech

TerMir selected as the winner of AgTech Innovation Competition

TerMir Inc., a North Carolina–based agtech company, focusing on solutions for citrus greening and natural weed control, has been selected as recipient of funding and membership of AgTech Innovation Competition hosted by Alexandria LaunchLabs. Alexandria’s national competition, was successful in attracting approximately 70 emerging agtech applicant companies in areas like crop protection, digital platforms, robotics, next-generation fabrics and animal vaccines from 20 states across the United States.

In May, TerMir and six other finalists—Agrynex (New York), Ascribe Bioscience (New York), EarthSense (Illinois), GALY (California), Mazen Animal Health (Missouri) and TreeCo (North Carolina)—presented their pitches virtually before an esteemed panel of judges. Alexandria LaunchLabs – AgTech selected TerMir as the $100,000 AgTech Innovation Prize winner based on its proprietary, patent-protected technology with a new mode of action for controlling the bacteria that causes citrus greening disease.

“Strategic efforts like our AgTech Innovation Prize are vital to fostering the next generation of leading agtech companies who hold the promise of developing groundbreaking solutions aimed at ensuring a sustainable, accessible and healthy global food supply.”

Blake Stevens, PhD, Head of Alexandria LaunchLabs®

The TerMir team is excited to be selected as the prize winner and to become an active member of the campus communities of Alexandria LaunchLabs. Founded in 2016, Raleigh-based TerMir is developing:

  1. An innovative, safe, and effective treatment for citrus greening. Ichor™, a patented formulation of TerMir break the bacterial disease cycle and eradicate citrus greening.
  2. A novel biological herbicide portfolio of products, based on a series of plant extracts, to control weeds and enhance crop growth.

Alexandria remains focused on providing mission-critical infrastructure and capital to the essential agtech industry. LaunchLabs provides move-in-ready office and laboratory space, shared equipment and services, creative amenities, and access to capital through its Alexandria Seed Capital Platform. The facility is also home to UPL, Indigo Ag, and Boragen.

Read more at ALEXANDRIA

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AgTech Biotech

AgTech startup Enko Chem raises $45 million to bring sustainable biopesticides to market.

Enko Chem Inc. (Enko) publicly launched after securing $45 million in a Series B round of financing, bringing its total funding raised to date to $66 million. Specialised in small-molecule pest control products, the startup’s tech platform is used to discover new ways to protect crops from pests and diseases.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was driven to invest in the startup because of the potential for its technology to help smallholder farmers in Africa and Asia. The latest round attracted a strong mix of existing (Anterra Capital and Rabo Food & Agri Innovation Fund) and new investors (Finistere Ventures, Novalis LifeSciences, Germin8 Ventures, TO Ventures Food).

“We’re committed to ensuring that smallholder farming communities in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia have access to affordable innovations that can safely and sustainably control crop pests and diseases, which are likely to intensify and spread into new areas due to climate change.”

Dr. Vipula Shukla, Senior Program Officer, Agriculture, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Instead of using traditional high-throughput methods to screen molecules for pesticide activity, it uses DNA-encoded libraries to select candidates from among billions of molecules. The technique, pioneered in the drug industry, is less expensive than older methods and allows researchers to run parallel experiments with different targets.

“You can improve safety and outcomes if you know a lot more about the target in the pest you are trying to inhibit. It gives us options to combat pesticide resistance and allows us to address safety and efficacy at the very start of the process.”

Jacqueline Heard, Founder and CEO Enko Chem Inc.

The startup’s launch comes as the need for pesticide alternatives and crop protection becomes more pressing. The factors behind the increase in biopesticides demand are the restrictions on chemical pesticides, the need for residue-free products, and an increase in environmental awareness.

At a time when more than 600 pest species have developed some form of resistance and threaten yield losses of up to 40 percent, Enko is pioneering a new approach by integrating complementary technologies to develop improved products that meet or exceed the safety and sustainability demands of farmers, consumers and regulators around the globe.

Read more at Enko

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AgTech Biotech

Pluton Biosciences selected for Global Illumina Accelerator

Pluton Biosciences is a microbial testing and discovery research company dedicated to finding unique microbes to replace synthetic chemical applications in agriculture and pest control with eco-friendly natural products. Pluton’s industry disrupting process patches critical “cracks” in the Research and Development pipeline by speeding the introduction of novel and beneficial bioproducts to market. Pluton Biosciences, was chosen for Illumina Accelerator, which partners with global entrepreneurs to build breakthrough genomics startups.

With extensive mentorship, financial support, and access to sequencing systems, reagents, and lab space, Illumina is building a dynamic ecosystem to help genomics startups, including therapeutics, diagnostics, agriculture, synthetic biology, forensics, and direct-to-consumer applications, launch in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Cambridge, UK.

“Pluton is thrilled to be the first St. Louis-based biotech company to be chosen by Illumina Accelerator. The opportunity to build our company in San Francisco, a global center of the life sciences industry, is terrific, and to have an investment from Illumina, the world’s largest sequencing company, is even better.”

Charlie Walch, Pluton CEO

Pluton uses Micromining®, its high-throughput microbial discovery platform, to identify and isolate novel bacteria, fungi, and viruses within months and not years, which dramatically improves R&D throughput for agtech companies and producers of pesticides.

“We are proud to partner with Pluton in the 11th funding cycle of Illumina Accelerator San Francisco Bay Area. Pluton’s experienced team and unique approach to harness the power of next generation DNA sequencing will uncover new microbial insights for environmental and plant health.”

Amanda Cashin, Co-founder and Global Head of Illumina Accelerator

Illumina Accelerator is accepting applications for the next global funding cycle, which are due by August 1, 2020. To learn more and apply, please visit Illumina website.

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AgTech Biotech

AgTech Company Bee Vectoring Technologies “BVT” announced three new deals with Michigan blueberry growers

AgTech Company Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc. “BVT” announced three new deals with Michigan blueberry growers to use BVT’s natural precision agriculture system. By adding Michigan’s 20,000 acres, BVT has now penetrated 83% of the US blueberry market. BVT, founded in 2012, is a leading technology company that uses commercially-reared bees to deliver sustainable and effective crop control. BVT system provides the foundation for comprehensive, stackable and highly targeted pest and disease management solutions.

“With these new deals, BVT has successfully penetrated key blueberry growing markets throughout the US in a single growing season. Since EPA approval in September 2019, we have entered the Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Michigan, Oregon and Washington blueberry markets as well as the Florida strawberry market.”

Ashish Malik, CEO, Bee Vectoring Technologies

Essentially, the company’s solution harnesses the power of nature’s best workers, helping growers improve crop quality with a significant decrease in the use of chemicals. BVT’s easy-to-use tray system introduces natural organic compounds to commercially-reared bees as they exit the hive. As the bees pollinate, they leave behind the foundation for a season-long, targeted pest and disease management program. The bees remain healthy and happy throughout the process.

Bee vectoring technology may sound complicated, but it’s actually a very simple, natural process. This technology replaces chemical pesticides and wasteful plant protection product spray applications by delivering biological pesticide alternatives to crops through precision application. BVT’s comprehensive stackable pest and disease management solutions are highly targeted to help growers easily improve quality in numerous crops, for example: strawberries, sunflowers, apples, tomatoes, canola, blueberries and others.

The expectation is that growers working with BVT will generate strong word of mouth to attract new customers to the Company in the following seasons to come.

Read more at Stockhouse.

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AgTech Webinar

AgTech Webinar: Innovation and technology in food and farming

Globally we are fast-moving more toward a technologized society as the Covid-19 pandemic has shown in medicine, education and the way we work. Agriculture too is at the forefront of this revolution with a fledgling sector called agtech. Farmers challenged by climate change, labor shortage, water and land supply shortage and the depletion of arable land, have already been steadily turning to innovation and technology such as blockchain, automation and robotics.

Come join a special panel moderated by Amy Wu that will feature women entrepreneurs who are creating solutions to help farmers succeed. The panel and discussion will address questions including achieving a balance between technology and human labor, how innovation can solve food supply chain issues, and the ways technology is creating a potential paradigm shift in agriculture.

Presenters:

Pamela (Pam) Marrone spent her career focused on biologically based products for pest management; for the last 30 years in Davis CA, where she started and led three biological crop protection companies. She started Marrone Bio Innovations in 2006 to discover and develop bio-based products for pest management and plant health. The company was listed on NASDAQ in 2013 (MBII), has commercialized 10 products, and is growing rapidly. Pam received the “Sustie” Award from EcoFarm in 2019.

Martha Montoya is CEO and founder of AgTools, which she founded in 2017 as a food supply SaaS platform that provides real-time intelligence to farmers and buyers with the goal of reducing food waste globally. The platform takes into consideration over 75 different market variables from weather to transportation on over 500 different commodities to help growers better plan their crops. The company has 14 employees throughout five offices in the U.S., Mexico and Colombia.

Penelope Nagel is a 9th generation farmer, COO and co-founder of Persistence Data Mining Inc. (PDMI). PDMI is a private company that uses hyperspectral imaging for timely collection of soil data related to spatial variability of soil texture. PDMI has developed algorithms accurately estimating nutrient availability based on hyperspectral data, key to determining where and how much nutrients need to be applied.

Moderator:

Amy Wu is an award-winning writer for the women’s ag and agtech movement. She is the Founder & Chief Content Director of from Farms to Incubators, a multimedia platform that uses documentary, video, photography and the written word to tell the stories of women leaders and innovators in agtech. It has a mission of expanding the profiles of women in food, farming, and tech. The documentary and stories have been screened and presented at SXSW, Techonomy, the Forbes AgTech Summit, EcoFarm and The New Food Economy. Prior to starting From Farms to Incubators, Amy spent over two decades as an investigative reporter at media outfits including the USA Today Network, Time magazine, and she has contributed to The New York Times, HuffPost and Wall Street Journal. She reported on agriculture and agtech for The Salinas Californian in Salinas, Calif. She sits on the Diversity Advisory Committee of EcoFarm.

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Biotech

Biotalys NV developed biofungicide, with potential to address increasing fungicide resistance

Biotalys NV, a food and crop protection company, announced the results from more than 100 field trials of its innovative biofungicide, BioFun-1, which is on track to launch in the United States in 2022. BioFun-1, an eco-friendly and innovative biofungicide, provides growers with a novel mode of action to address increasing fungicide resistance, with potential for pre- and post-harvest applications. 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. Botrytis cinerea and powdery mildew, considerably impact yields and quality in a wide range of fruit and vegetables crops, and are responsible for significant food losses.

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: It 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. It was founded in 2013 as a spin-off from the VIB (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology) and its headquarters are located in the vibrant biotech cluster in Ghent, Belgium.

Read more at GlobeNewswire

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Uncategorized

Future crops could make their own pesticides

A team of U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists are trying to design crops that kill weeds by exuding a natural herbicide from their roots. In other words, they’re creating oilseed and cereal crops that can control weeds — on their own. “It’s a complicated thing, because we’re trying to make plants produce something that is poisonous, and probably even poisonous to them,” said Scott Baerson, a molecular biologist in Oxford, Mississippi. Since 2000, Baerson has been studying sorgoleone, a natural herbicide released into the soil from the roots of sorghum plants. The chemical suppresses nearby plants, helping sorghum out-compete its rivals.

If they’re able to pull it off, the technology could be a game changer. It won’t eliminate the need for herbicides, but it should “significantly reduce the amount” applied to cropland. This agricultural technology is comparable to the technology of self-driving cars.

Read more at TheWesternProducer

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Uncategorized

Latin America Biopesticides Market Overview

As demand for healthier foods increases, so does organic farming, and the government actively supports the use of biological pesticides by purchasing from suppliers and selling to farmers at a lower price. On a global scale, the United States remains the leading participant in the global biopesticide market, with 35% of total sales, being followed by China at a distance with just over 11%. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico are enjoying a steady growth rate, reaching ranges of between 2% and 3% of total global sales. Overall, the global biopesticides market is projected to grow at a CAGR of just under 10% over the next five years, reaching nearly USD 3 billion by 2024.

The factors behind the increase in biopesticides demand are the restrictions on chemical pesticides, the need for residue-free products, and an increase in environmental awareness. In Chile, for instance, the benefits are related to the prospect of exporting products to foreign markets. Fruits and wines are susceptible to strict control of chemical traces, and the use of biopesticides is the best opportunity to export them without risking the protection and assurance of bio-production.

Read more at Kline & Company

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Uncategorized

What Are Bioproducts?

Bioproducts are defined as naturally occurring living organisms (bacteria, fungi, nematodes, insects, plants, etc.) and extracts of living organisms, used to control pests and diseases, enhance growth of and protect plants and animals in indoor and outdoor environments. Bioproducts basically fall into two categories – Biocontrol agents (or products) and Biostimulants.

Biological control – or biocontrol – is the use of living organisms, such as insects, or bacterial and fungal pathogens, to control pest populations. Biostimulants are products that stimulate natural processes in the plant or around the roots to enhance nutrient uptake, nutrient efficiency, increased tolerance to abiotic stress, and crop quality, vigour and yield.

Read more at SABO