Wisconsin Patent of the Month – November 2020
A growing population means a growing volume of food needed to feed the world. Many scientists around the globe are working on projects that will help with food security. Unfortunately, crop loss due to pests and disease is still too common. Some scientists at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) have been working on ways to help plants help themselves.
Micronutrients are a key player in a plant’s defence system. When faced with disease, these micronutrients can trigger the creation of all of the defensive metabolites. Unfortunately, crops rarely get the required micronutrients to help themselves. They are just not getting the micronutrients from the soil, and what they have in their leaves may not transfer down to their roots when needed.
WARF has been looking at creating a fungicide which will provide the micronutrients required to fight off disease. Their fungicide would include a metal and coordinating anion structure. The crops are sprayed, coated, or dipped into this fungicide. The fungicide prevents the progression of the disease and the plant’s micronutrients can create an effective defence system. Their experiments showed that the fungicide reduced crop loss from disease in various crop-types. But even more importantly, it showed that after fighting the initial disease, the plant was able to maintain higher defence levels and protect itself better in the future.
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