Eden Research hoping to get to the root of plant fungus problem

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Eden Research PLC (LON:EDEN) is to partner with family-run farming business M H Poskitt to develop and trial a new bio-fungicide product designed to protect and improve the quality of vegetables.

Poskitt’s farm in Yorkshire’s East Riding currently produces roughly 80,000 tonnes of crops per year serving UK retailers and a range of other customers.

The AIM-listed biopesticides specialist said the partnership has been established to support a research & development project (R&D) that M H Poskitt has been engaged in, investigating the effect of mugwort plant extract on key plant diseases.

Over the coming two years, Eden, which has expertise in plant-derived sustainable chemistry and developing and registering biopesticide products, said it will be conducting wider testing with the aim of developing a commercially viable product.

The collaboration is currently in the early stages of development and does not have a significant impact on management’s expectations for the performance of the business for the time being. This unique project could eventually provide farmers with a naturally-derived product to help protect against late blight, which costs farmers an estimated £55mln each year in the UK alone.

“Our partnership with innovative grower Poskitt is an excellent example of collaboration in UK agriculture,” said Sean Smith, the chief executive officer of Eden Research in a statement.

“Eden and Poskitt share the mutual goal of advancing sustainable alternatives for crop protection in the UK and further afield. When we first heard about Poskitt’s discovery and the initial R&D, we were keen to get involved due to our experience in developing plant-derived chemistry into effective products. Poskitt’s initial observations and field evaluation work are an excellent example of how innovative Britain’s farming sector is, and we look forward to working with Poskitt on this project and achieving positive outcomes for the future of UK crop protection,” he added.

Guy Poskitt, the managing director of M H Poskitt, said the company had successful results in its initial field trials, and it is now “excited about potentially finding an alternative treatment to phytophthora, which remains one of the biggest challenges faced by root vegetable farmers.”

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