Connecting countries to climate technology solutions
English Arabic Chinese (Simplified) French Russian Spanish Yoruba

Natural Antimicrobial Agent Derived from Biomass

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a new class of fungicides compliant with organic agriculture. Fungal pathogens pose one of the greatest economic threats to agriculture. Every year fungal infections – such as root rot smut and powdery mildew – destroy about 125 million tons of the top five food crops globally. One pest Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is responsible for a disease called white mold and causes $250 million in annual damages in the U.S. alone. Today the majority of fungicides are synthetic or metal-containing and therefore not compliant with USDA organic agriculture laws. The rise in pesticide-resistant strains and the risk to human health is driving the search for safe and effective alternatives. UW–Madison researchers have identified an antimicrobial agent produced as a byproduct of biomass processing. The agent is a diferulate compound called poacic acid (and sometimes also called ‘8-5-DC’). It has been shown to target and destroy the cell walls of several species of fungus and yeast.

Date of release: