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Dole and Boragen Team up to Fight Black Sigatoka

29.5.2020

Dole Fresh Fruit Co. has teamed up with boron-based discovery platform startup Boragen to develop a treatment to protect bananas  against Black Sigatoka, one of the most prevalent and damaging diseases  plaguing bananas.

“As pressure to reduce chemical load increases, and the number available crop protection products reduces, the need for alternatives to control this disease is more important than ever,” Patricio Gutiérrez, research and innovation director for Dole Fresh Fruit, said in a statement about the partnership. “We look forward to collaborating with Boragen to develop new solutions to protect the banana farms and improve the environmental, social, and economic sustainability of the banana trade.”

Black Sigatoka, also known as black leaf streak, is caused by the fungal pathogen Mycosphaerella fijiensis. One of the most destructive diseases to commonly grown banana cultivars, it has developed resistance to several current fungicides. If left untreated an entire plantation can be lost in only a few weeks. 

Boron is a naturally occurring element in the environment and an essential micronutrient for plants. Boragen uses a unique boron-based toolbox to develop novel agrochemical compounds with potent broad-spectrum fungicidal activity with new modes of action. It claims that its crop protection library contains compounds that have multi-site modes of action to combat resistance while requiring fewer active ingredients than current products. Founded in 2015, the startup is based in Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. 

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