The project management is responsible for the content of the information provided.
This project, funded by Gebert Rüf Stiftung, is supported by the following project partners: Agroscope, Nyon; VentureLab; Venture Kick; InnoTREK; Innosuisse; BRIDG; European Union (EU) Climate-KIC; EU Horizon 2020 SME Instrument; SPECo; Foundation of Innovation and Technology, Canton of Vaud; Sustainability award of Canton of Geneva
Project no: GRS-074/18
Amount of funding: CHF 150'000
Duration: 03.2019 - 05.2020
Area of activity:
InnoBooster, seit 2018
Dr. Olga Dubey
Route de Duillier 60
1260 Nyon (Schweiz)
- olga.dubey@agrosustain. ch
Food rotting in the field and further down the supply chain is an all-too-common sight. More disturbingly, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that approximately one third of global food production – worth around USD 1.66 trillion – goes to waste annually. Fungal pathogens on perishable foods such as fruits and vegetables during pre- and post-harvest phases are estimated to account for losses of up to USD 30 billion annually.
At present, chemical fungicides are widely used in the agricultural industry. Many of these products have a detrimental effect on human and animal health and are consequently forbidden in countries such as Switzerland, Germany, France and the UK. At the same time, public sentiment to ban chemical pesticides has hardened. Despite efforts to develop organic protection, there are still no effective methods of combatting the fungal pathogens that infect large groups of crops. During the pre-harvest phase, existing treatments need to be applied every 10 days, and they are, on average, only 40% effective. To date, there has been no approval of available organic treatments.
Owing to the narrow spectrum of their antifungal activities, current natural fungicides prevent the development of only 3 to 5 fungal species of the 20 to 30 widely found in storage facilities.
It all amounts to a formidable challenge. But, fortunately, there is a solution. It will benefit players in the food industry and could well represent an unusual opportunity for the far-sighted investor.
What is special about the project?
AgroSustain aims to reduce food waste and promote sustainable agriculture by developing natural solutions for pest management.
AgroSustain intends to be a one-stop shop solution for managing fungal pressure all along the value chain. The problem with fungal infection is that it starts during production and continues to have a strong impact during the post-harvest phase, as it becomes visible. In order to fight fungi more efficiently, all stakeholders along the value chain need to work together.
Ultimately, we have a massive impact on more sustainable farming because we help to:
- drastically cut food waste;
- reduce CO2 emissions;
- safeguard the quality of drinking water;
- maintain precious microfauna ecosystems;
- avoid deterioration of soil quality;
- substantially boost food quality;
- guarantee a supply of healthy food with no chemical residues.
Following the one year support of InnoBooster, AgroSustain was able to grow its team to 6.8 FTE, with a strong focus on R&D.
The active ingredients that reveal antifungal properties and build the foundation of AgroSustain's first product went through the first tests of product toxicity with a positive outcome. The next steps are planned to be initiated in August 2020.
When working on the development of AgroSustain's first natural fungicide, the company was able to establish the final version of its product and show its efficacy when testing on grapes. In the next months, the company is planning to conduct an extended number of efficacy studies in the green house, followed by field trials, as well as storage facilities.
Also, AgroSustain was able to finalize its first pilot trials with Migros - the largest Swiss retailer helping them to narrow down food losses by identifying fungal pathogens causing infections and offering effective solutions for stopping them. Currently, AgroSustain initiated additional paid pilot trials with several EU retailers and food producers.
Persons involved in the project
AgroSustain TeamDr. Olga Dubey
, project leader; Founder and CEO AgroSustainPD Dr. Sylvain Dubey
, Co-Founder and CTO AgroSustain
AgroSustain Sounding Board and Advisors||https://agrosustain.ch/
Dr. Katia Gindro, Head of Mycology and Biotechnology group at Agroscope
Paola Ghillani, AgroSustain’s lead InnoSuisse coach, expert in food retailing and sustainability, founder & CEO at Paola Ghillani & Friends Ltd.
Ethan Sinick, Retail and Consumer Goods Industry Consultant with Shirland Ventures
Dr. Bettina Ernst, Chief Executive Officer at Preclin Biosystems AG
Bora Karamustafa, Chief Commercial Officer at Mootral AG
Dr. Alain Gaume, Former Head of Plant Protection Strategic Research Division, Agroscope
Last update to this project presentation 20.07.2021