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MBI and a new organism that controls phytonematodes

MBI Files Patent on New Microorganism that Controls Plant Parasitic Nematodes

Davis, Calif., August, 2012 – Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBI), a leading global provider of natural pest management products for the agricultural and water treatment markets, has filed a patent on the latest discovery from its biopesticide screening platform: a new species of bacteria from a known genus that kills plant-parasitic nematodes such as root-knot and sting nematodes.

“Our microbial nematicide screen is designed to look for natural products that kill nematodes directly. Resulting products would therefore be more powerful than ones with indirect effects that do not kill the nematodes,” said Dr. Phyllis Himmel, Vice President of R&D. “In addition to the new species in this patent filing, we are studying several more strains of bacteria that kill nematodes.”

MBI’s patent filing includes a new species of bacterium and the nematicidal compounds it produces during the fermentation process. Some of the natural compounds produced are novel chemical structures. Others are known, but not previously credited with nematicidal properties.   

MBI’s research team has developed unique, miniature, bioassays to rapidly test extracts from naturally occurring microorganisms for activity against nematodes. The team then determines whether the active extracts prevent the nematodes from entering plant roots. To capitalize on and continue MBI’s nematicide discoveries, the company has hired Dr. Lijung Xing, a nematologist formerly with Syngenta, to lead the nematology/soil pest group at MBI, and a nematologist, Dr. Sylwia Fudali, as senior scientist from Dr. Valerie Williamson’s renowned nematology lab at UC Davis.

“Nematicides are an important strategic area for MBI, further broadening our agricultural product line to meet our customers’ pressing needs,” said Dr. Pam Marrone, CEO and founder. “The additional R&D resources will allow us to more quickly turn our discoveries into commercial products. I am very excited by our successes to date in finding novel nematicide candidates.”

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