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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 - 02.2020
Area of activity: InnoBooster, seit 2018
Dr. Olga Dubey
Route de Duillier 60
1260 Nyon (Schweiz)
- olga.dubey@agrosustain. ch
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimated annual food waste at an equivalent of CHF 1’000 billion, out of which CHF 12 billion of fruits and vegetables get lost every year caused by fungal pathogens in mid / downstream operations (post-harvest, in storage facilities). Metabolites of some of the broadly spread fungi in food storage facilities can have additional negative effect on human health e.g. aflatoxin – poisonous carcinogen produced by Aspergillus species. To this day, no efficient, cost-effective, natural treatments against molds are available on the post-harvest market. The aim of AgroSustain is to develop and bring to market novel, efficient plant-inspired treatments in order to reduce food losses caused by molds down the food value chain.
What is special about the project?
Competition is until now mostly focused on controlling ripening process by reducing ethylene gas generated by fruits and vegetables (e.g. AgroFresh) in order to extend shelf life in food storage facilities (ripening rooms), or developing edible coating such as Apeel Sciences (USA). However, only few enterprises are working on providing solutions to extend the freshness of the ripened fruits by preventing molds in storage facilitates, e.g. Syngenta (Switzerland) – leader in crop protection during pre-harvest (only few products available for post-harvest application) and Decco (USA) – specialist in post-harvest solutions.
AgroSustain provides unique offering represented by efficient, plant-inspired treatment that permits extension of food freshness by preventing development of broadly spread molds. AgroSustain has developed a pipeline of plant-derived antifungal compounds against large range of agronomically important fungal pathogens present in pre- (in the field) and post-harvest. AgroSustain’s first product, called AgroShelf+, extends shelf life of vegetables & fruits infected with molds in storage facilities, by minimum 7 days. Application of AgroShelf+ on stored perishable food can be done with spray or related patented technology in storage facilities, with no to minimal installation costs. Application of AgroShelf+ product will generate the following benefits for food retailers and distributors:
- Reduction of food losses in post-harvest by up to 5 times, with significant cost savings for crops highly impacted by molds
- Increased amount of crops for sales by up to 2 times
- Optimization of workload in stores, with less daily checks about molds’ presence
- Happy consumers
AgroSustain was incorporated in May 2018, our current achievements are:
10 employees to dates with expertise in plant pathology, chemistry, molecular biology, business development & sales, financials and legal;
Technology readiness level: 6 (technology demonstrated in relevant environment). Product development with proof of concept completed, i.e. identified efficient active ingredients and their scope of efficacy against large number of fungal pathogens, product upscale production is completed;
Regulatory pathway: first steps of product registration completed (ames test), acute toxicity studies will be finalized in October 2019;
Proof of market: national and international commercial traction has been confirmed, with new collaborations being confirmed every month since November 2018. First pilot trials were initiated in May 2019, follow up pilot trials are under discussion.
The next milestones of AgroSustain are:
Secure internal investment (grants & awards) and external investment (equity) for Series A round of CHF 2 million;
Perform chronic toxicity studies, required for registration in EU and abroad. Develop product formulations;
Finalize first paid pilot trials with food retailers and distributors.
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 10.12.2019