U.S – Ascribe Bioscience, a company rooted in technology developed by the Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), has partnered with Nutrien Ag Solutions to bring to market two crop protection products featuring Ascribe’s bio fungicide, Phytalix.
This development marks a leap forward in biological crop protection and promises to transform the landscape of agriculture.
Phytalix, a flagship bio fungicide developed from discoveries made at BTI, represents a milestone in biological crop protection.
The product is based on ascarosides, a natural molecule derived from the soil microbiome. Researchers at BTI uncovered that these molecules induce robust immune responses in plants, empowering them to effectively combat various pathogens.
Ascribe CEO Jay Farmer highlighted the profound implications of this discovery for agriculture.
“Phytalix is one of the first biological crop protection products with the efficacy and ease of use demanded by large-scale growers,” he stated.
Unlike traditional chemical fungicides that directly target pathogens, Phytalix works by enhancing plants’ natural defenses, providing growers with a sustainable and effective solution without harming beneficial soil organisms or the environment.
Four years of extensive field trials have demonstrated Phytalix’s ability to match or surpass the efficacy of traditional synthetic fungicides. The bio fungicide has effectively controlled major agricultural pathogens such as Corn Leaf Blight, Asian Soybean Rust, and Fusarium Head Blight in wheat.
This breakthrough is a significant boon for crop health and environmental sustainability, offering a promising avenue for reducing reliance on synthetic chemicals in agriculture and addressing the growing resistance of pathogens to existing fungicides.
Ascribe’s collaboration with Nutrien involves a joint development and supply agreement, paving the way for the launch of Phytalix blends under Nutrien’s Loveland Products brand. The focus will be on US row crops, including corn, wheat, and soybeans.
BTI President Dr. Silvia Restrepo expresses enthusiasm about the transition of scientific research into practical solutions.
“The potential of Phytalix to transform crop protection while maintaining environmental integrity aligns perfectly with BTI’s mission to advance the understanding of plant biology for the benefit of humanity,” he stated.
Ascribe submitted its application to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for registration of Phytalix in November 2023.
Phytalix will be accessible for use on corn, wheat, soybeans, and specialty crops as well as for home and garden usage in the majority of US states, pending EPA registration.