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Janine Sherrier (left), professor of plant and soil sciences, and colleague Harsh Bais, associate professor of plant and soil sciences at UD
Janine Sherrier (left), professor of plant and soil sciences, and colleague Harsh Bais, associate professor of plant and soil sciences at UD, were the lead inventors on the patent, which the University has licensed exclusively to BASF. The two professors, along with co-inventor Venkatachalam Lakshmanan, led collaborative research teams studying the microorganism.

New BASF biofungicide uses UD patents

Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson, Shannon Modla and Venkatachalam Lakshmanan

Velondis biofungicide contains beneficial microbe to help plants fight fungal disease

The Environmental Protection Agency has registered BASF’s new Velondis brand biofungicide seed treatment formulations, which contain a patented University of Delaware beneficial microbe to help plants fight fungal disease. With potential applications in agriculture, horticulture and forestry, the products are designed to boost the protection of seedlings and plants from key soil-borne diseases.

The bacteria in Velondis produce a beneficial biofilm and antimicrobial components that promote systemic resistance within the plant, resulting in suppression of disease organisms that attach to root systems. Two of the Velondis biofungicides have additional components that help plants produce a more vigorous root system, resulting in improved plant growth and yield potential.

beneficial microbe Bacillus subtilis
BASF’s Velondis biofungicides contain a strain of the beneficial microbe Bacillus subtilis, which naturally lives in soil and on the surface of plant roots. Scientists at the University of Delaware’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources conducted research on the microbe with initial support from USDA HATCH funds, and additional funding from the Delaware Biotechnology Institute, the National Science Foundation and BASF. The microbe helps boost the protection of seedlings and plants from soil-borne diseases.

“Velondis biofungicides mark a major step for BASF in the use of natural biologicals to help plants fight disease,” said Justin Clark, a technical marketing manager with BASF. “We plan to use this new active ingredient in a number of different products and applications to help improve disease control and increase crop yield potential.”

A key microorganism incorporated in the new Velondis formulations is a unique strain of Bacillus subtilis, a natural, beneficial bacterium that lives on the surface of roots and the surrounding soil, or rhizosphere.

Scientists at UD’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Delaware Biotechnology Institute (DBI) conducted research on the beneficial bacterium with initial support from USDA HATCH funds, and additional funding from DBI, the National Science Foundation and BASF. The University’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships also provided funding and significant intellectual property management.

Janine Sherrier, professor of plant and soil sciences, and colleague Harsh Bais, associate professor of plant and soil sciences at UD, were the lead inventors on the patent, which the University has licensed exclusively to BASF. The two professors, along with co-inventor Venkatachalam Lakshmanan, led collaborative research teams studying the microorganism.

Rice plants treated with the beneficial microbe identified through UD research (right) show much more vigorous growth compared to the untreated plants on the left.
Rice plants treated with the beneficial microbe identified through UD research (right) show much more vigorous growth compared to the untreated plants on the left.

“At the University of Delaware, we’re able to pursue early discovery work, with the ultimate aim of providing safe and effective tools for growers,” said Sherrier. “The translation of basic research into commercial products is an arduous path, so we are pleased that our work has resulted in the development of new products for agriculture such as Velondis biofungicides.”  

Velondis biofungicides will be used in different facets of agriculture and will initially be labeled for use with soybeans in spring 2018. Growers can learn more about Velondis biofungicides by visiting BASF Ag Products or by contacting their local BASF representative.

About BASF’s Crop Protection division

With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. BASF’s Crop Protection division works with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others to help make this possible. With their cooperation, BASF is able to sustain an active R&D pipeline, an innovative portfolio of products and services, and teams of experts in the lab and in the field to support customers in making their businesses succeed. In 2016, BASF’s Crop Protection division generated sales of €5.6 billion. For more information, please visit us at www.agriculture.basf.com or on any of our social media channels.

About BASF

BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 17,500 employees in North America, and had sales of $16.2 billion in 2016. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, visit www.basf.us. BASF combines economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 114,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of about €58 billion in 2016. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at www.basf.com.

 

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