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Quick commercial response to University research.

29 December 2004

Quick commercial response to University research.

Lincoln University’s real-world research for real-world problems could lead to substantial savings for the country’s burgeoning wine industry.

University research has led to the development of a new product to be used in the fight against Botrytis in grapevines.

Botrytis is a grey mould that causes bunch rot on grapevines – leading to major headaches for winegrowers around New Zealand. In the past it has proved resistant to many fungicides registered for use on grapes.

The new product, Sentinel, is a biological control agent based on the Trichoderma fungus. By fighting fungus with fungus, the product is hoping to appeal to winegrowers increasing commitment to the use of environmental crop protection practices.

While Sentinel will be useful to all growers, it will be especially attractive to those in the organic field.

Lincoln University has been collaborating with businesses in the agricultural sector for many years. The relationship between the institution and Agrimm Technologies Ltd has been ongoing for the past 10 years. It has developed to the point where fast business responses to university findings are possible.

The University’s role in developing the Sentinel product was in the identification and characterisation of the active ingredient in the product. Last year, researchers at the University identified that a strain of T. atroviride had activity against Botrytis. Agrimm responded by conducting a series of field trials.

“Sentinel is not only organic, it can be applied at times when other fungicides cannot be used because of withholding periods.” Says Frank Visser, managing director of distribution company Key Industries.

This will be the third product produced from collaboration between Professor Alison Stewart’s research group at Lincoln and Agrimm Technologies Ltd.

The new product leaves no residues in wine and does not affect the wine making process, which is why it can be applied to grapes right up to harvest.


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