Post-harvest spoilage is a significant problem along the supply chain which results in great profit losses. Fungal infestation and mould growth are some of the common reasons for food waste and nutrition loss due to post-harvest degradation. Common post-harvest treatment includes unsustainable and excessive use of chemicals which can lead to contamination of the environment and our food.
Microbes associated with the plants and soil have co-evolved to confer beneficial traits to their plant counterparts. This technology relates to a highly effective and fully natural solution that exploits the plant microbiome for bio-based plant protection to increase the storability of fruits and vegetables. For example, the microbiome of microalgae can also be with beneficial microorganisms to increase the yield and reliability of algae growth in bioreactors. Moreover, microbiome tracking can be utilized to identify entry points of microbial contaminations.
This technology provider is seeking research collaboration with farmers to implement this solution for both soil-based and hydroponics agriculture.
As a means to control post-harvest pathogens biologically, the native microbes of the targeted plant that confer protection against the pathogens are first screened. Afterwhich, the most promising candidates are tested for the benefits and against given pathogens in vitro. The best microorganisms will undergo field trials and successful candidates will be integrated directly into a seeding pill to convey this benefit to all plant offspring.
This technology can be further optimized for consistent effects, robust fermentation, and formulations with high shelf-life to develop a new generation of bio-based plant protection products.
This technology can be mainly applied to post-harvest protection of fruits and vegetables but can be extended to the following applications below:
Many synthetic agrochemicals are toxic, and their prolonged use can cause health risks and environment damage. Furthermore, rising human population and urbanisation has led to a greater demand for food and lesser agricultural land. This has led to the rising inclination toward organic farming and the use of biopesticides.
Majority of understanding on microbiomes comes from the human gut microbiome. However, there has been an increasing understanding of plant-microbe interactions for improving crop performance and protection, and increasing interest in microbial technologies.
Researchers are looking into exploiting the symbiotic relationships found within the plant and soil microbiota for bio-based solutions, such as biocontrol, biostimulation and biofertilisers, to support the sustainable agriculture movement.