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  • Condensed by Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Unconventional Ag Media

Syngenta, Enko Develop Breakthrough Method to Control Fungal Diseases in Crops

Syngenta Crop Protection and agtech company Enko collectively announced the development of a “novel chemistry” to control fungal diseases in cereal crops, and are now making moves to create a new and effective fungicide.

Fungal pathogens alone can lead to farmers losing between 10-23 percent of their yield. And when considering the top five staple crops of rice, wheat, corn, soybeans, and potatoes, this is estimated to be enough food to feed as many as 4 billion people a diet of 2,000 calories per day for a year. Such losses are predicted to worsen with global warming, spreading fungal infections and increasing the chances of resistance to today’s fungicides. 

This new chemistry, which is a result of Syngenta and Enko’s multi-year collaboration, features a new mode of action that targets devastating diseases. The breakthrough was achieved by screening billions of chemical modules with Enko’s DNA-encoding libraries, and then applying AI and machine learning models to identify potent selective molecules. 

The companies have now entered the next phase of their partnership with the goal to optimize the fungicide’s attributes and test them for safety and efficacy. They have also agreed to expand their work to discover novel chemical starting points for a new herbicide.


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