According to the Food Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), each year, plant diseases cost the world economy over €210 billion, and fungal infections damage at least one-third of all food crops. Commercial agriculture relies on chemical fungicides for crop protection, due to their low cost and ease of application; yet their widespread use also has disastrous effects on agricultural soils and living systems such as:
- Reduced crop yield: Some fungicides can be phytotoxic, meaning they can damage or kill the crop plants they are intended to protect.
- Development of resistance: Overuse of fungicides can lead to the development of fungal strains that are resistant to the chemicals. This can make it more difficult to control fungal diseases in the future.
- Accumulation in the soil: Some fungicides can persist in the soil for a long time and accumulate in the environment. This can lead to soil pollution and contamination of groundwater.
- Human health impacts: Potential toxicity on food consumed and spread of diseases.
Hence, implementing sustainable crop protection measures is crucial for global economic growth, environmental protection, and food security.
SafeWax is a bio-derived solution, non-toxic fatty acid-based sprayable formulation that self-assembles into a multilayered protective covering with anti-adhesive, self-cleaning, and antifungal qualities. When sprayed on to sensitive crops that lack natural wax crystals, the solution provides synthetic passive disease resistance to their leaves. The project’s long-term objective is to revolutionize crop protection practices with a completely new approach to preventing infections in crops, starting with fungi. The consortium of the project is formed of: Technion from Israel, University of Bologna from Italy, Eurofins, BASF SE from Germany and Institut Francais de la vigne et du vin from France. The proyect is lead by the Pokroy Lab at the Technion which is uses technology inspried by natural properties of plants.
Inveniam is proud to have supported the project from the conception stage, to help bring the consortium partners together and to create a strong proposal. We look forward to following the consortium’s progress.
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