AAFC-Patented Fusarium Biocontrol Agent Licensed by Canadian Company

Randy Kutcher, 2013.
Randy Kutcher, 2013.

Adjuvants Plus Inc. (API) has reached a licensing agreement with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s (AAFC) Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization (OIPC) for the patented technology to prevent fusarium head blight in cereals with a fungal organism called Clonostachys rosea strain ACM941.

Clonostachys rosea strain ACM941 is a patented organism that protects plants against fungal pathogens, the company says in a recent press release. It is particularly effective in controlling Fusarium Head Blight in wheat and has potential for use in other crops, says API.

Related: How to use your combine as a fusarium management tool

“Fusarium head blight has cost Canada’s wheat growers $1.5 billion since the 1990s and continues to threaten annual wheat revenues of almost $5.4 billion. We are pleased to play a role in helping growers prevent this devastating disease in wheat with support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada,” said Dr. Bill Brown, President, Adjuvants Plus Inc.

Dr. Allen Xue of AAFC’s Eastern Cereal and Oilseed Research Centre patented this specific fungal strain of Clonostachys rosea in 1999 after observing positive results in the lab and in field trials on wheat that demonstrated that ACM 941 inhibited soil-borne and seed-borne fungal pathogens.

“I am pleased to learn that our years of hard work have finally come to fruition. I look forward to seeing the commercial production of this new bio-fungicide and the positive impact it will have on Canadian agriculture and food safety,” Dr. Xue says in the same press release.

Clonostachys rosea ACM941 is a fungal microbe isolated from the lower leaf of a field pea plant in Manitoba that infects and kills Fusarium and other disease pathogens. This natural mode of action can be used to control the devastating fusarium head blight in cereals and may find applications in many field and horticultural crops, including those in the greenhouse industry.

API is a Canadian-based, agri-business that will now determine how to develop the technology as a seed treatment or foliar spray.

AAFC’s Pesticide Risk Reduction Program will provide API with regulatory assistance in submitting their application to Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency to seek regulatory approval of the ACM941 patented organism. The Pesticide Risk Reduction Program assists with the registration of biological pest control products that have been prioritized by growers. Expanding the pest management tool box to include reduced risk biopesticide options contributes to the goal of achieving more sustainable pest management overall. Finding new or alternative ways to control crop-damaging pests is a priority for the crop protection industry and a biocontrol product fills that need.

The 10-year agreement between AAFC and API is a royalty-based license whereby AAFC receives a percentage of sales following commercialization of the biocontrol product.

AAFC is pleased that its research efforts have resulted in providing the agricultural industry with a new and effective control. “We wanted the science out there and for Dr. Xue to be recognized for his contribution,” said Christina Stewart, AAFC’s Commercialization Officer in Charlottetown, PEI, who piloted the agreement through a series of technology-testing evaluations and a formal request for proposals from industry.

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