Plant pathology researchers support agri-tech firm's approach to biocontrol development

Plant pathology researchers support agri-tech firm's approach to biocontrol development

Biotalys, an agricultural technology company developing protein-based biocontrol solutions for crop protection, has entered into an academic collaboration with leading researchers in plant pathology at the University of Aberdeen.

Biotalys is developing a series of biocontrols to support growers in protecting their crops from pests and diseases. The company’s R&D program BioFun-4 was initiated last year to develop a biofungicide against Phytophthora infestans, an oomycete (water mould) that causes late blight/potato blight, a serious disease that particularly affects tomatoes and potatoes.

Biotalys has now entered into a research collaboration agreement which will see it sponsor a three-year PhD project in the Aberdeen Oomycete Laboratory of Professor Pieter van West, Chair in Mycology at the School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition, and a leader in the field of plant and animal pathogenic oomycetes.

The project will deepen the expertise in oomycetes at the molecular level.

“We are delighted to partner with Biotalys on developing sustainable solutions to combat late blight in potatoes,” said Professor van West. “Biotalys is a young company developing novel and exciting solutions for a very important disease that has been with us since the Irish potato famine in the 1840’s.”

Biotalys also announced collaborations with the Universities of Lisbon and California-Davis related to BioFun-7, its ongoing R&D program in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and focused on developing biocontrols against leafspot disease for cowpeas and other legumes.

Dr Carlo Boutton, Chief Scientific Officer of Biotalys, said: “With these collaborations we continue to build on the strong scientific foundation of our programs and technology. I am a firm believer of the synergies that can be created between the expertise and excellent research at academia and industry and the announced new collaborations are examples of that vision.

“We continuously seek to partner with experts in all aspects of our field as we work to bring novel, sustainable crop protection products to growers. We are excited about the work these researchers will be doing with us.”

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