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CASE STUDIES

CASE STUDY 5

Impact of Extracts of Marine Origin for Plant Protection

The Company

Brandon Products is a leading biotechnology company that develops and commercialises products from marine raw materials. The resulting products are utilised in both plant and animal protection.

The Question

Brandon Products wished to research and investigate the impact of various extracts of marine origin on plant protection, particularly against Fusarium wilt. Fusarium wilt is caused by a fungal pathogen - Fusarium oxysporum - that produces effects such as wilting, chlorosis, necrosis, premature leaf drop, browning of the vascular system, stunting, and damping-off. Marine raw materials have naturally occurring self-defence constituents and mechanisms that offer potential for use as bio protectants and are thus ideal candidates for 'bio-prospecting'.

Solution through Shannon ABC

An extensive literature search was conducted into published literature on various marine extracts and methods. Following from this a number of extracts were developed and refined. The resulting extracts were screened for plant protectant ability with the most potent extracts being selected for further investigation and trialling. Controlled testing of the extracts on important crops were carried out over an eleven month period with significant outcomes that the company plans to continue to develop. In addition to identifying which extracts worked best the study identified the application methods, rates and timing to achieve the best outcomes.

This is a significant outcome to a project that will add value to Brandon Product's existing product line. The data generated by Shannon ABC, in the form of hard scientific facts, is now consistently used by the company as proof of the efficacy of their products. This 'academic marketing' approach has been used by some of industry's biggest names and is now also reaping dividends for Brandon Products with sales being won in key international markets, a direct result of the collaboration with Shannon ABC.

The positive impact of this collaboration has also resulted in further applied research and development projects. This includes a current project which has received funding from the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology (IRCSET).