(October 2017 - October 2018)
The SMARTBIOCONTROL project portfolio, supported by the Interreg France-Wallonie-Vlaanderen program, brings together 26 partners on both sides of the Franco-Belgian border, working in partnership for the development of a more sustainable agriculture.

The ambition of SMARTBIOCONTROL: To develop new antifungal molecules of natural origin - lipopeptides - with an effectiveness and cost comparable to the current conventional solutions for crop protection.

The BIOPROD project in particular is dedicated to several areas of the work including:
  • The optimization of the production (yield, cost, scaling) of lipopeptides from bacteria of the genus Bacillus;
  • The study of the biodegradability and cytotoxicity of these lipopeptides;
  • The formulation of molecules to make them more effective.
This newsletter details the progress and the recent results of this constitutive project of SMARTBIOCONTROL, whose closing is scheduled for October 2020.
In addition, you will find information on the results of a qualitative survey of cooperatives and traders in the targeted Interreg zone, which results in a better understanding of the perceptions and expectations of prescribers and farmers on biocontrol.
Biodegradability of lipopeptides
The study of the biodegradability of the lipopeptides (active molecules) produced is necessary to demonstrate the durability of the future products developed.
Thus, specific methods of extraction and quantification of lipopeptides have been developed in order to better follow and at a reduced cost the biodegradation of lipopeptides in a set of matrices close to agricultural soils.
A first 60-day follow-up of the degradation of surfactin in the soil was carried out showing a degradation greater than 60% after 45 days.
Other tests have shown that fresh soils, fresh compost and sodium acetate allowed a good degradation of lipopeptides that were studied.
Formulation of biomolecules
Different formulations including active lipopeptides and a list of adjuvants (alone or in combination) were tested on four cultures. Measurements of the application angles of the tested formulations as well as the static surface tension were integrated in these tests, since these parameters influence the "wetting" of the leaves and thus allowing a better distribution of the active molecules on the pathogenic target.
  • On wheat, among all the tested mixtures, four formulations give very satisfactory results on the plants affected by Septoria, due to a better resistance to the leaching, although the leaves of wheat are difficult to be wetted;
  • On lettuce, whose leaves are naturally hydrophilic, the formulated products tested are very effective;
  • Other tests on potato and tomato give intermediate results.
Future trials will take place with lipopeptides, alone or in cocktail, nano-encapsulated and for root application.
The studies carried out with the non-formulated purified lipopeptides produced by Lipofabrik on three cell models showed an acceptable cytotoxicity of the different molecules tested (alone or in mixture), with however a toxicity gradient established as such: Fengycin< Surfactin < Iturine.
To continue the analysis, these results will soon be compared with other chemical molecules provided by the BIOPROTECT project.
Results of the market study (economic survey)
A qualitative survey was conducted among 18 distributors of phytosanitary products (traders and cooperatives) on both sides of the Franco-Belgian border, to better understand their perceptions and expectations of their customers – the farmers, the end users- on the development of fungicidal biomolecules and biocontrol solutions in general.
This survey, which cross-checks 75% of the farms in the Interreg FWVL area, gives valuable indications for all the project partners.
It indicates that in the face of societal pressure and future regulatory impasses with respect to the banning of certain molecules (for example glyphosate), biocontrol solutions such as lipopeptides of natural origin could prove to be an alternative of interest.
Thus, most respondents would be willing to conduct experiments on their own plots, and would like future research projects around different pathosystems to be used, for example beetroot ...
Optimization of production
Many experiments are in progress concerning the optimization of the production parameters:
  • On bacteria and their colonization behavior according to the strains studied;
  • Different bioreactor technologies are tested as well as scaling up with experiments ranging from 2L to 300L;
  • Optimum substrates and culture media for Bacillus growth and lipopeptide yield;
  • Work on the optimization of lipopeptide purification processes is also being studied in terms of filtration and extraction and drying.
The results of these experiments will be specified in the next newsletter!
  • Bioprotect: Bioprod encapsulates two beneficial microorganisms (Rhizophagus irregularis and Trichoderma harzianum) in alginate beads for plants and Bioprotect tests their ability to colonize corn.
  • Biosens: Bioprod supplies several bacterial strains of Bacillus to Biosens in order to develop a specific sensor.
  • Bioscreen: The rhamnolipids synthesized by Bioscreen are formulated by Bioprod to increase their pesticidal effectiveness.
Come to meet the BIOPROD team on following congresses / symposiums in 2019:
IUPAC International Congress 2019 GHENT 
The 14th International Congress on the Chemistry of Plant Protection will be held from 19 to 24 May 2019 in Ghent, Belgium.
The second Franco-Canadian Symposium on Natural Antimicrobials will take place from July 2 to 4, 2019, at the University of Lille (Lilliad, Campus Villeneuve d'Ascq, France). The purpose of the symposium will be to share the latest and most relevant knowledge on the contribution of natural substances in the fight against antibiotic resistance as part of the One Health integrated approach.

New strategies for the production and formulation of low toxicity biopesticides

The objective of BIOPROD is associated with the producers linked to the industrial production of new biopesticides via the microorganisms producing in the future in the near future of the products and respectful of the Man, the environment and accessible at a reasonable cost.

BIOPROD website

François KRIER
03 20 41 75 67

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