By Kaitlyn Ersek on Oct 13, 2022 10:00:00 AM
Holganix was granted a patent for microbial bionematicide technology that is environmentally friendly and shown to reduce plant parasitic nematodes by over 75% in preliminary studies.
Holganix is an agricultural biotechnology company that develops microbial products used by farmers to increase yields, boost soil health, and reduce fertilizer requirements. Today, Holganix announced it has been granted a US patent (US 11,447,427 B2) for a new microbial bionematicide technology.
While studies are still ongoing, preliminary results have shown a 75% reduction in plant parasitic nematodes in a lab setting and an 80% reduction in a field setting.
The new bionematicide harnesses the power of soil microbes to reduce plant parasitic nematodes, including soybean cyst, corn lesion, tomato root-knot, lance, and sting nematodes. The technology utilizes three modes of action:
- It affects the migration of nematodes to the roots
- It inhibits eggs from hatching
- It targets plant parasitic nematodes
The new bionematicide technology is still in development and is not yet commercialized or registered with the EPA.
“With these encouraging preliminary results and intellectual property, Holganix is positioned to develop a truly unique bionematicide product for the agriculture and turf industries,” explains Holganix President of Agriculture, David Stark, Ph.D. “Nematodes represent a $100 billion problem in terms of worldwide plant loss, and current solutions are often harmful to the soil and the environment. Because Holganix’s technology revolves around the use of a naturally occurring, concentrated, and stabilized stack of soil microbes, this bionematicide technology will be friendly for the environment.”
The patent (patent number: US 11,447,427 B2, entitled “Methods For Controlling Pathogenic Plant Nematodes and For Improving the Health and/or Performance of Ruminant Animals,” was awarded to inventors, David Stark, Ph.D., President of Agriculture at Holganix LLC and Robert Neidermyer, Ph.D., Director of Soil Health at Holganix LLC.
“We are excited that the patent agency granted protection for our novel, microbial bionematicide technology and are looking forward to continuing to develop the product, registering the product through the EPA, and commercializing it for agricultural, turf and ornamental use,” explains Dave.
Nematodes: A 100+ billion Dollar problem in Agriculture and turf
Plant parasitic nematodes are among the most widespread pests and are frequently one of the most insidious and costly. Nematodes feed on plant roots, damage them, and drain nutrients from the plant, thereby decreasing yields and increasing the plant’s susceptibility to other stresses.
Considering the more subtle effects of low infestation levels, the 100-billion-dollar approximation may be a vast underestimate. Indirect losses are caused by nematodes creating wounds in plant roots that result in an entry way for infection from plant parasitic fungi, archaea, and bacteria. An effect of global warming is the increase of warmer soils, thus providing a more favorable environment for species previously not endemic to certain areas, and causing increased nematode losses globally.
In the turf industry, golf greens provide an ideal environment for nematodes. This provides a huge opportunity since, according to a paper by the University of Arizona, “The economic impact of the golf course industry is significant, estimated in 2005 to have an annual value of $195 billion.” Greens are an ideal environment because they provide the plant parasitic nematodes with a uniform host with a long growing season. Per the University of Massachusetts, “The soil is 75% to 95% sand which provides ideal pore spaces for oxygen, water, and nematode mobility, and the greens are watered frequently. Nematodes are aquatic animals and need moisture for mobility. Golf greens can have some of the highest populations of nematodes found in agricultural soils.”
One difficulty in assessing nematode impact is that damage resulting from nematode infection is often less obvious than that caused by many other pests or diseases. Losses that result from nematode attack may not necessarily be a consequence of direct cell death, necrosis, or ‘diseased’ tissue, but may derive from other more insidious aspects, such as interference with the root system, reducing efficiency in terms of access and uptake of nutrients and water. To the unaware, nematode-affected plants present typically drought and nutrient stress symptoms, which are easily and often misdiagnosed.
Want to learn more about Holganix's Preliminary Nematode Results?
While studies are still ongoing, preliminary results have shown 75% reduction in pathogenic nematodes with Holganix's bionematicide technology in a lab setting, and an 80% reduction in pathogenic nematodes in a field setting. The preliminary work was conducted by Kris Lambert, Ph.D. of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. You can learn more about those results by clicking the link below.