NRC supports UK biopesticide research and development


The National Reference Collection (NRC), recently launched by CHAP (Crop Health and Protection, one of four UK Agri-Tech Innovation Centres) in partnership with CABI and Fera (Fera Science Limited), now offers both access to, and storage of, valuable live isolates of fungi and bacteria.

The facility, based at CABI, provides storage for crop-related microorganisms using state-of-the-art cryopreservation and freeze-drying technologies, making it a vital resource for those involved in product development and academic research.

For anyone looking for access to samples, this facility has been made available through the NRC Portal in order to drive the creation and testing of new products such as biopesticides and pathogen-resistant crop cultivars.
Culture storage and supply is overseen by CHAP’s National Reference Collection Technician, Sophie Lane, working with CABI Genetic Resource Curator Dr. Matt Ryan. “We offer those working in academia and commercial research the opportunity to safeguard their cultures by depositing them to the National Reference Collection,” says Lane. “Not only is the storage safe and highly robust, but the service can also be confidential, making it a secure environment for any strains involved in patent applications. “This is a great opportunity to unite with the wider crop protection industry to enhance UK agriculture’s provision of alternative crop protection products and strengthen its future.”
With traditional crop protection products under regulatory strain, growers are turning to alternative products such as biopesticides to support their wider crop management programmes. It is hoped that as it evolves, the NRC will help to bring new biopesticides to the market, providing farmers with a broader range of scientifically robust products.
The collection also facilitates furthering agriculture’s knowledge of crop health and how plants interact with the environment, an area championed by CHAP’s Scientific Support Coordinator, Dr. Alex McCormack. “The collection offers a great opportunity for researchers to access and/or deposit crop-associated pathogenic, beneficial or generalist organisms from across the UK,” he says. “As a fully searchable online database, it’s an easy-to-use tool that gives access to new isolates for researchers’ work, helping further understanding of plant ecosystems and their responses to different organisms. It also gives researchers a space in which to share isolates with the wider research community or provide a secure catalogue of candidate organisms for potential commercial ventures.”
CHAP aims to build networks of leading scientists, farmers, advisers, businesses and academia to understand industry priorities and develop innovative solutions.
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