`Lithuanian Firm Seeks Patent for Drug to Prevent Xylella - Olive Oil Times

Lithuanian Firm Seeks Patent for Drug to Prevent Xylella

Oct. 6, 2022
Daniel Dawson

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A Lithuanian envi­ron­men­tal engi­neer­ing firm has devel­oped a new drug to pre­vent the spread of Xylella fas­tidiosa and treat infected plants, its chief exec­u­tive told Olive Oil Times.

Yaroslav Churakov of Quantum Satis Engeneering said the com­pany was work­ing on a treat­ment to pro­tect seeds from fungi and bac­te­ria dur­ing ger­mi­na­tion when they deter­mined that it may help olive grow­ers with Xylella fas­tidiosa.

The drug pen­e­trates the inter­nal tis­sues and flu­ids and begins to cir­cu­late in the plant, sup­press­ing path­o­genic microor­gan­isms.- Yaroslav Churakov, CEO, Quantum Satis Engeneering

Xylella fas­tidiosa is one of the most dan­ger­ous plant bac­te­ria in the world. Two sub­species – mul­ti­plex and pauca – infect olive trees and cause Olive Quick Decline Syndrome, which has no cure.

According to the European Commission, Xylella fas­tidiosa causes an esti­mated €5.5 bil­lion in pro­duc­tion losses annu­ally. The bac­te­ria have been iden­ti­fied in France, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

See Also:Improving Olive Grove Biodiversity Helps Fight Xylella Fastidiosa and Climate Change

However, Churakov claims his com­pa­ny’s new drug can kill Xylella fas­tidiosa bac­te­ria with­out harm­ing the olive tree, other plants or humans.

Laboratory stud­ies have shown high effi­cacy of the drug in the sup­pres­sion of var­i­ous sub­species of the bac­terium Xylella fas­tidiosa,” he said.

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The drug is applied by spray­ing and cre­at­ing a cloud,” Churakov added. Getting on leaves, the drug pen­e­trates the inter­nal tis­sues and flu­ids and begins to cir­cu­late in the plant, sup­press­ing path­o­genic microor­gan­isms.”

The com­pany is cur­rently in the process of patent­ing the for­mula of the drug. As a result, Churakov declined to com­ment on its ingre­di­ents or how it is made.

However, he attrib­uted the poten­tially game-chang­ing treat­ment to the devel­op­ment of nan­odi­a­monds, a car­bon nanos­truc­ture capa­ble of pen­e­trat­ing cell walls in plant tis­sue while trans­port­ing other sub­stances.

An increase in yield in the amount of 10 to 15 per­cent is achieved due to the pres­ence of cer­tain iso­topes that act as cat­a­lysts for chem­i­cal and phys­i­cal processes in plant cells,” Churakov said.

Also, the use of the drug con­tributes to the increase of plant immu­nity and resis­tance to neg­a­tive fac­tors such as poor ecol­ogy, toxic pre­cip­i­ta­tion, impact chem­i­cal toxic plant treat­ments and arti­fi­cial fer­til­iz­ers,” he added.

Churakov said olive grow­ers would need to apply about 1 ton of the treat­ment per hectare of olive trees. He declined to dis­cuss the cost of the treat­ment but implied it could be fairly high.

At this stage, the cost of the drug will be dis­cussed with each indi­vid­ual plan­ta­tion owner,” he said. Part of the cost of the drug can be cov­ered by us, part by olive pro­duc­ers. Perhaps olive grow­ers will be able to attract grants from the state to cover the cost of pro­cess­ing trees.”

Olive Oil Times asked inde­pen­dent experts about the via­bil­ity of Quantum Satis Engeneering’s treat­ment. Rodrigo Krugner, a super­vi­sory researcher at the United States Department of Agriculture’s research ser­vice, did not com­ment on whether he thought the prod­uct would be effec­tive for farm­ers.

Still, he said: I haven’t seen any peer-reviewed pub­li­ca­tion demon­strat­ing the effi­cacy of this prod­uct against Xylella fas­tidiosa. There is quite a bit of research on can­di­date antimi­cro­bial prod­ucts, but noth­ing is used com­mer­cially as far as I know.”

Irene Zenetti, a spokes­woman for the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), also did not com­ment on the via­bil­ity of the treat­ment but said an opin­ion pub­lished by EFSA in 2019 con­cluded that at that date, there was no con­trol mea­sure avail­able to elim­i­nate Xylella fas­tidiosa from a dis­eased plant in open field con­di­tions.”

However, Churakov empha­sized that the com­pany had invested sig­nif­i­cantly in the devel­op­ment of the drug and added that the invest­ment would likely pay off for farm­ers through more robust yields and the pre­ven­tion of Xylella fas­tidiosa.

Our com­pany has invested a lot of money in the devel­op­ment of the drug, and today the ini­tia­tive should go to olive grow­ers who want deci­sively to solve the destruc­tion of Xylella fas­tidiosa and secure busi­ness,” he con­cluded.


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