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  Eric Baughman    
  Eric Baughman, CEO of Cytozyme Labs, is a pioneer in microbial fermentation technologies for application in agriculture.  
   
   
   
   
  When we started no one understood about microbial fermentation and biotech concepts in commercial agriculture. It is a very conservative industry and one that has been dominated by seeds, fertilizer and agrochemicals  
   
   
   
   
   
   
     
 

Bio-stimulants that help plants cope with stresses naturally

 
   
  What are the possibilities of this technology to produce higher quality and better yields?  
   
  There are three basic categories in agricultural inputs:-  
   
  Synthetic agrochemicals, which have a leading share in todayís agriculture  
   
  Biologicals  
   
  Bio-stimulants  
   
  The latter 2 are based on natural solutions.  
   
  We control pests through agrochemicals. But how do we make the plant more resistant to stress?  We know the more stress a plant is under, the lower the yield. These stresses come in many forms: heat, drought, UV radiation, salinity in the soil and pest pressure.  The average (YEILD) impact of drought was 48 percent across 7 crops.  
   
   
   
   
     
  We have developed two basic areas of science around these technologies:-  
   
  MAC (metabolically active compounds)  
   
    CPS (crop protection support)  
     
       
    We identified many organisms which, when fermented under specific conditions, produce a wide range of metabolites. None of our products contain living organisms, though the technology is derived in live microbial fermentation.  
     
     
     
       
    Metabolites produced by our fermentation process migrate in and out of cells and we have learnt to control this process to come up with specific formulations. About four years ago we contracted with several leading universities in the US to drive in on what is the mode of action of this very complex biological process. We were able to identify different categories of genes which are up-regulated or down-regulated substantially as the result of the application of our technologies.  
     
     
     
     
     
       
    Plants today, even with the best hybrids, only produce about 24-25 percent of their genetic potential. Any technology that helps release the unutilized potential translates into higher productivity and profitability.  
     
     
     
       
    A plant under stress produces ROS (reactive oxygen species). ROS molecules can be very damaging to the cell. They break down the important cellular make-up of the leaf and tissue of the plant.  
     
     
       
    How can we influence production or inhibition of ROS? We exposed the Arabidopsis plant to very high temperatures (30 degrees centigrade for one hour). We applied our product 24 hours before. The level of damage in the untreated plant was significantly worse than in the treated plant. This gave us a good indication that cellular damage was a result of these stresses.  
     
     
     
     
       
    We conducted a test at the University of Utah where they have sophisticated drip irrigation capabilities.  
     
     
    Where our products were applied there was a significant increase in incremental productivity:-  
     
    14 percent for corn, 27 percent for soybean - no irrigation  
     
    2.5 percent for corn, 11.3 percent for soybean - 50 % irrigation  
     
    10 percent for corn, 6.4 percent for soybean - 100 % irrigation  
     
       
    Crop protection support Ė A microbial fermentation technology that Cytozyme is developing. We have seen significant up-regulation in those genes responsible for biotic stresses.  We have technologies in our portfolio to influence the plantís resistance to biotic ó fungal, bacterial and blight stresses. These are non-GM technologies. We are merely developing metabolites to highly up-regulate the plantís natural defence mechanisms.  
     
     
     
     
     
       
    We tested our CPS technology on rice with sheath blight at the University of Texas -  
     
    85 % improvement with the application of CPS technology versus 62 % improvement with fungicide alone.   
     
       
    The second test was on soybean rust disease -  
     
    Fungicide gave a 39% level of protection versus 45 % improvement when used along with CPS technology = 6 % better protection with a 15 % improvement in yield  
     
     
       
    In much the same way at University of Florida we looked at bacterial leaf spot in tomato -  
     
    Significant 39 % improvement (of what) over untreated control  
     
    More than 30 % (of what) over the straight bactericide control  
     
       
    These trials indicate that agrochemicals are vital in controlling disease. But there are opportunities combining functionalities of traditional agrochemicals, both contact and systemic, with biological products that enhance a plantís own natural ability to fight disease. This is the field of biologics that Cytozyme is investing considerable time and research in. It will continue to grow as a very viable and interesting segment of the crop protection industry.  
     
     
     
     
     
   
 
    Cytozyme links  
       
    Cytozyme  
    Cytozyme Experience  
    Cytozome Crop+:- Analysis & Application rates  
    Cytozyme Seed+:- Performance, Field results & Lab results  
    Cytozyme Experience - Boosting Crop Nutrient Uptake - Corn - Day 5  
    Cytozyme Experience - Boosting Crop Nutrient Uptake - Corn - Day 7  
    Cytozyme Crop+:- Performance, Field results & Research results  
    Improve yield and quality of potatoes - Effects of two rates of urea N, urease inhibitor and Cytozyme nutritional program