Scale-up production and field-testing of biological agents for controlling Fusarium Head Blight in wheat

  • Term: 3 years, beginning in 2018

  • Funding Amount: $62,004

  • Lead Researcher(s): Vladimir Vujanovic (University of Saskatchewan)

  • Funding Partners: Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture - Agriculture Development Fund (ADF)

Project Description

This project builds on the initial findings of the researcher’s team on identification of a new biological control agent (BCA), a new species of fungus native to Saskatchewan developed into a biopesticide to fight mycotoxigenic Fusarium-FHB pathogens.

Western Canadian cereal growers anticipate promising new crop varieties to generate higher returns on yield and revenue, particularly those tolerant to Fusarium Head Blight (FHB). This has become more evident since the occurrence of FHB outbreaks in Saskatchewan’s wheat growing areas in 2016, despite best management and cultivation practices. Furthermore, DON/vomitoxin levels in 2016 in both CWRS and durum were higher than in previous years, potentially affecting human and animal health, according to industry sources (SaskSeed, 2017). The BCA identified at university of Saskatchewan has a twofold effect by simultaneously protecting yield and preventing mycotoxin accumulation in the kernels.

This research focuses on process development and scale-up production of the BCA to demonstrate the feasibility and translate these technologies for commercial launch, in collaboration with Saskatchewan Research Council and Lallemand Plant Care. Beyond process optimization and scaleup, this project also undertakes larger scale field trials to confirm earlier proof of concept and support precommercial regulatory requirements. Formulated BCA product will be tested for its efficacy against FHB and mycotoxins on wheat and durum in Saskatchewan ecoregions across three years. Data will be generated under Environment Canada-PMRA and CFIA regulations/approvals for both product registration and commercialization purposes.