(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – 3Bar Biologics®, Inc. awarded $100,000 for Phase 1 of an SBIR grant through the USDA. Crazy Root is an emerging disease, particularly in greenhouse hydroponic tomato production. Currently no commercial, biocontrol product for CR disease exists. While use of biocontrol in greenhouses is increasing, the expanding biologicals market is experiencing inconsistent performance.
The grant supports 3Bar Biologics developing and bringing to market a novel, beneficial microbe delivery system to improve performance of biological products. Easily activated on-site by growers, the system activates the live microbes by pushing a button to combine the stabilized bacteria inoculum with the liquid growth medium. 3Bar disposable bioreactor technology opens up the potential for growers to apply more effective microbial strains with CR control capability. Ohio State University research identified several Pseudomonas strains capable of CR control. Leveraging this research, the 3Bar Biologics phase I project aims to prove feasibility of preventing CR disease in hydroponic production using the identified Pseudomonas strains, delivered with the 3Bar system.
“The ultimate goal is to develop a broad-spectrum, biocontrol product for use against multiple recurrent diseases in hydroponic vegetable production,” said Dr. Jane Fife, Chief Science Officer at 3Bar Biologics. “Most existing methods for disease control involve routine use of chemical pesticides and sterilization agents.”
The hydroponic vegetable production industry is shifting toward biocontrol agents that limit spread of disease, are safer for workers and consumers, and easily applied. Currently, few effective biocontrol-based products exist to control diseases on hydroponically produced vegetables. 3Bar Biologics Phase 1 has identified four expected outcomes of the microbe delivery system prototype.
3Bar Biologics Phase 1 Expected Outcomes:
- Increased efficacy of the biocontrol product for use against multiple, recurrent diseases in hydroponic vegetable production.
- Increased plant health benefits from “probiotic effects” of beneficial bacteria in hydroponic systems leading to increased vegetable yield and quality.
- Increased use of the biocontrol product and reduced reliance on chemical pesticides and sterilization agents by hydroponic vegetable growers.
- Increased growers’ return on investment for use of the biocontrol product.
”Due to consumer demands, production of non-blemished fruit that are free of pesticides and chemical residue is essential. To this end, the industry is increasingly turning to biologicals to control pests and disease,” said Bruce Caldwell, CEO at 3Bar Biologics.
The grant supports prototype development of the 3Bar biocontrol product for Crazy Root and fungal root rot disease for proof-of-concept testing with hydroponic vegetable growers and also includes training of undergraduate and graduate students in Ag Biotech and Ag Sciences.