Collaboration deal is struck between Marrone Bio Innovations and Plant & Food Research

Dr Alison Stewart...optimistic.

Dr Alison Stewart…optimistic.

California-based Marrone Bio Innovations Inc and The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited have announced the signing of a collaborative research agreement.

The agreement covers several novel bio-active organisms and natural products which Plant & Food Research will provide to MBI for the expected development of biopesticides and plant health products. The MBI field of use includes conventional and organic agricultural uses, turf and ornamental, home and garden, and forestry.

Dr Alison Stewart, MBI’s senior vice president and chief technical officer, said she sees great potential in the agreement.

“Having been involved in the New Zealand biopesticide industry for 25 years I am very familiar with the potential of the Institute’s library of bio-actives. Now, I am optimistic that MBI’s expertise and technology can drive these actives toward successful commercialization.”

According to Dr. Gavin Ross, general manager business development with Plant & Food Research, the agreement fits the strategy of his organisation in ensuring innovation is advanced to market.

“We have extensive experience in the discovery of new bio-active compounds, but we don’t possess the capabilities at industrial scale for formulation, production and commercialization. In partnering with a company with an international reach, such as MBI, we can ensure that our scientific knowledge is translated into products that can be used by growers worldwide. This agreement allows our respective organizations to concentrate on their areas of expertise to realize the best possible outcomes.”

Based in Davis, California, Marrone Bio Innovations is a leading global provider of bio-based pest management products for agriculture and water applications.

Dr Stewart joined the company as its first chief science officer from Lincoln University, where she was a Distinguished Professor of Plant Pathology in the Bio-Protection Research Centre. Her work concentrated on the beneficial strains of Trichoderma that resulted in four commercial products for the control of onion white rot, Sclerotinia lettuce drop and Botrytis diseases of grapes and tomatoes.

Dr Stewart served as director of the centre for eight years, assisting scientists in moving NZ-developed technology into commercial enterprises to enhance NZ agriculture and farmers’ livelihoods.

She retains the title of professor emeritus with Lincoln University.

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