IP protection

PART B: VALORISATION PLAN

 

1

Please provide a short description of the state-of-the-art and/or current trends in the field? How does the result fit into it?
Keywords:  Plasmopara viticola, fungicides, endophyte, grapevine, disease control, organic viticulture

Plasmopara viticola, also known as the grape downy mildew is considered to be the most devastating grapevine pathogen in North America and Europe. That pathogen is fought by means of fungicides based on copper, fludioxonil or pyrimethanil.

In view of sustainability, current trends are going to focus more on bio-control agents.  Biological control is defined as the reduction of pest populations by natural enemies and typically involves an active human role. Biological control agents of plant diseases are most often referred to as antagonists.

The research result propose an innovative fighting method based on the use of the endophyte fungus Alternaria alternata as antagonist agent of Plasmopara viticola and the use of the secondary metabolites, belonging to the class of Diketopiperazines (DKPs), as antagonist substances of Plasmopara viticola.

Few other works on similar methods can be found surfing on the web.

http://wiki.pestinfo.org/wiki/Phytopathologia_Mediterranea_%282008%29_47,_122-131

Products based on similar principles are now emerging from commercial entities as listed e.g. at the International Biocontrol Manufacturers’ Association (IBMA) ( the worldwide association of biocontrol industries producing microorganisms, macroorganisms, semiochemicals and natural pesticides for plant protection and public health) http://www.ibma.ch/pg_microorganisms_mbca.html

There is no evidence of product using the same fungus or related metabolites.

 

 

2

What is the problem/need/knowledge gap that the research result is responding to?  How was it addressed before?
As for EC Regulation nr. 473/2002 of the Commission of 15 march 2002, the use of copper in the form of copper hydroxide, copper oxychloride, (tribasic) copper sulphate and cuprous oxide and the use of mineral oils as fungicides are considered to be traditional organic farming practices. It has appeared that these substances are indispensable to the cultivation of various crops and that only by increased research efforts it will be possible to find on medium or long term appropriate alternative solutions. The use of copper in the forms referred to above may have long-term consequences due to its accumulation in the soil, which appears incompatible with organic farming’s objective of environmentally friendly farming. The conditions for using copper should therefore be restricted by fixing a ceiling on use expressed in terms of kilograms of copper per hectare per year.

The proposed result appears in full accordance with the EC Regulation that suggests to limit the use of copper derivatives.

 

 

3

What is the potential for further research?
The potential is related to application of the acquired know-how also to other microorganisms, to cure or prevent different pathogens. In addition, the study of interaction between fungus and plant  is a field to cover using as a starting point the test of the proposed result.

 

 

4

What is the proposed method of IPR-protection? (patent, license, trademark etc.)
The research group have already applied for a patent to protect the method.

 

 

5

What are the steps that need to be taken in order to secure the IPR-protection? What is the cost of IPR-protection?
The result is subject to Italian patent n. 1372013, patent is pending in Europe and  South Africa.

EU patent cost is about 3 k€. In addition, due to the field of application, it is necessary to cover 8-9 countries: the costs is around 2-4 k€ per country.

 

6

What is you overall assessment of the scientific maturity of the research result?
The scientific contributions have been validated in laboratory and greenhouse giving positive results. The needed effort is mostly on validation and about the scale up of production and deployment. This is why it can be stated that, from the scientific viewpoint, the result is mature.

 

 

 

 

KEYWORDS QUANTITATIVE ASSESSMENT (0-5).

Please put X as appropriate. 1 2 3 4 5
Scientific maturity       X  
Synergies        X  
State-of-the-art/innovation         X
IPR-potential         X

 

 

 

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