FA Bio Field Trials at Rothamsted Research

In Spring season 2023 FA Bio advanced development of an innovative biocontrol and biostimulant product for wheat crops, commencing field trials at Rothamsted Research, the world-leading non-profit research centre that focuses on strategic agricultural science to the benefit of farmers and society worldwide.

Following successful results in FA Bio’s glasshouse trials of biocontrol’s and bio stimulants for wheat, we commenced field trials for our lead candidates. Those top candidates were progressed into field trials at Rothamsted Research, to really understand how the microbes are working with wheat plants

FA Bio is focussed on the key wheat crop pathogens as part of its field trials, including Zymoseptoria. Pathogens that affect wheat crops can infect both the roots and the leaves, causing disease, rot and blotching, and can occur at all stages of crop development. It is estimated that global wheat production suffers an average annual loss of 24.3 to 62.0 million metric tons due to complex fungal diseases, or pathogens.

Zymoseptoria is a plant disease fungus most prevalent in wheat crops that causes septoria leaf blotch which is difficult to control due to its resistance to multiple fungicides. It is one of the most important diseases of wheat worldwide, occurring in most wheat-growing regions every year and causing yield losses of up to 50%. It survives from one season to the next on crop stubble being spread with rain, heavy dew or wind and has the potential to be spread over large distances.

Our field trial studies of biocontrol’s and bio stimulants for wheat plants as seed treatments is underway across more than 100 plots at Rothamsted Research, with 5 candidates being tested across two separate trials. Currently mid-trial, the plants are due to be harvested at the beginning of September.

In parallel to the field trials, FA Bio is in the process of optimising biomass productions and formulations of its lead candidates, to enhance the efficacy of seed treatments for wheat. With two further field trials planned for the Winter wheat season in 2023, we hope to have strong results and significant progress in the development of our game-changing bioproducts in 2024.

The use of bioproducts in crop protection controls against wheat pathogens remains understudied, therefore this project by FA Bio to develop an innovative bioproduct for wheat crops could be revolutionary in pursuing sustainable agriculture and global food security. The potential for a biocontrol and biostimulant that can be applied as a seed treatment is key for combating devastating fungal diseases of the world’s largest crop and providing growers with effective alternatives to chemical products whilst also increasing yields.

Kerry O’Donnelly Weaver, COO and Co-Founder, FA Bio

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