Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

Animals, Agriculture & Food
Animals Agriculture Food
Natural Antimicrobial Agent Derived from Biomass
WARF: P140248US02

Inventors: Jeff Piotrowski, John Ralph, Fachuang Lu, Mehdi Kabbage, Robert Landick

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing a new class of fungicides compliant with organic agriculture.
Fungal pathogens pose one of the greatest economic threats to agriculture. Every year fungal infections – such as root rot, smut and powdery mildew – destroy about 125 million tons of the top five food crops globally. One pest, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, is responsible for a disease called white mold and causes $250 million in annual damages in the U.S. alone.

Today, the majority of fungicides are synthetic or metal-containing, and therefore not compliant with USDA organic agriculture laws. The rise in pesticide-resistant strains and the risk to human health is driving the search for safe and effective alternatives.
The Invention
UW–Madison researchers have identified an antimicrobial agent produced as a byproduct of biomass processing. The agent is a diferulate compound called poacic acid (and sometimes also called ‘8-5-DC’). It has been shown to target and destroy the cell walls of several species of fungus and yeast.
  • Potential new antifungal, antimicrobial compound for agriculture and pharmaceuticals
Key Benefits
  • Demonstrates strong antifungal activity
  • Naturally derived
  • Consistent with organic farming
  • Adds value to the waste stream of biomass processing plants
Stage of Development
The compound has shown biological activity against the pathogens Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, Alternaria solani (early blight), Phytophthora sojae (stem and root rot), and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Additional Information
For More Information About the Inventors
For current licensing status, please contact Mark Staudt at [javascript protected email address] or 608-960-9845