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Scoop Image: Leading-Edge Science Fights Fungus

Caption: James Millton of Gisborne’s Millton Vineyard, left, and Chris Henry of Good Health Pesticide Co in one of the vineyards where the new fungicide has been used successfully.

From the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology
For immediate release

LEADING-EDGE SCIENCE FIGHTS FUNGUS

The inventor of a world-first softsoap fungicide believes the product is just what environmentally conscious growers and customers are demanding.

The fungicide has been developed by Chris Henry of the Good Health Pesticide Co Ltd at Waiuku, south of Auckland. It is a formulation of potassium soaps designed to fight Botrytis, a disease that rots grapes and disfigures lemons. “It works by making a plant activate its own defences,” Mr Henry says. “Modern agrochemsitry is searching for these components as they activate the plant’s natural defence mechanism before disease pressure exists. “These are simple compounds, but it really is leading-edge science because it makes the plant do the work.” Mr Henry discovered the formulation in the early 1990s. “I was an organic orchardist and looking for an organic insecticide. I came up with the softsoap formulation, which didn’t work well as an insecticide, but it did as a fungicide, particularly against Botrytis.” His project was supported by Technology New Zealand – part of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology – which invests in research into new products, processes or services. Mr Henry says the soap is environmentally safe and meets organic standards internationally. He has licensed the product to Yates New Zealand Ltd. Yates’ research manager, Peter de Jong, says the formulation is unique because it is a soap-based fungicide. “Although not quite as effective as some chemicals, it is still a very good option for fighting Botrytis and at half the price,” he says. Yates is licensed to make and market the product in New Zealand and Australia under the brand name Protector. It is undergoing registration with the Agricultural Chemicals Registration Board and the company hopes to have it fully registered for spring 2001. Although Yates is particularly interested in using the formulation to fight Botrytis in grapes, it is also investigating whether it can be applied to kiwifruit and berryfruit. -ends-

Caption: James Millton of Gisborne’s Millton Vineyard, left, and Chris Henry of Good Health Pesticide Co in one of the vineyards where the new fungicide has been used successfully.

Contact: · Chris Henry, Good Health Pesticide Co Ltd, Brook Rd, RD 4, Waiuku. Ph: (09) 235-1202, (025) 294 1490. Fax: (09) 235-1202. · Peter de Jong, research manager, Yates New Zealand Ltd, Nelson. Ph: (03) 544-2339. Fax (03) 544-2338. Email: pete.dejong@yates.co.nz · Nigel Metge, Technology New Zealand at the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (Auckland Office), (09) 912-6730, or 021 454-095. Website: www.technz.co.nz

Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology by ID Communications. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525, ian@idcomm.co.nz


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