Natural botrytis-killing product licenced

A British company is on the cusp of commercialising an all-natural product that can kill the grape fungus botrytis and is harmless to the honey bee.


Botrytis cinerea on Riesling grapes.

Eden Research announced this week that it had signed an exclusive agreement with SIPCAM, a chemical manufacturing company based in Milan, to sell 3AEY – an all-natural product that kills the grape fungus botrytis and protects grapes from pests.

Not only is 3AEY totally natural, made from tea tree oil and lemon juice, but is harmless to the honey bee whose population is currently under significant threat.

Neonicotinoids, the pesticide currently used to protect crop seeds, were banned by the EU Commission for their effects on honey bee populations.

That ban will expire this year with many of the biggest chemical companies, as well as environmental campaigners, calling for it to remain intact.

3AY, which is said to be as effective as its toxic counterparts, could therefore be the answer.

The product is based on the company’s encapsulation technology which takes naturally occurring chemicals produced by plants, known as terpenes, and harnesses their effects to produce a longer lasting pesticides.

For example, lemon juice can kill aphids, but only for 12 hours. When subject to Eden’s encapsulation technology, it can remain active for up to 14 days.

Explaining the technology a spokesperson for Eden said: “Historically, terpenes have had limited commercial use in the agrochemical sector due to their volatility, phytotoxicity and poor solubility. Eden’s platform encapsulation technology provides a unique, environmentally friendly solution to these problems and enables terpenes to be used as effective, low-risk agrochemicals.”

The company has so far spent £12 million developing the technology over the course of a decade, with this agreement coming off the back of a number of agricultural trials of the product, including one in Greece that was seen to successfully combat botrytis in grapes.

Sean Smith, chief executive officer of Eden, said: “The development and commercialisation of plant protection products with an established partner in Spain and Italy will ensure that we have exposure to these key grape growing regions. We are delighted to work with partners such as SIPCAM, and their affiliated companies globally, to ensure that a steady pipeline of products continue through this final regulatory process and into commercial sales.”

It is hoped that 3AEY will be commercialised on a larger scale by SIPCAM with this being the first of a number of agreements anticipated across the world.

Giovanni Affaba, managing director of SIPCAM, said: “We are delighted with this agreement, a milestone for us in the direction of building up a well-integrated portfolio of agrochemicals and natural products, able to highlight the well-known technical skills of our company to offer solutions to farmers able to satisfy their needs.”

12 Responses to “Natural botrytis-killing product licenced”

  1. Petar says:

    Great news! I hope more company invest in project like this one!

  2. philipponnat says:

    Neonicotinoids are insecticides, not fongicides !
    This natural innovation, if efficient, is very welcome,
    but the comment about honey bees is far fetched.

  3. steve dunn says:

    when and where will it be available in the US?

  4. chatonnet says:

    what is the relation in between honey bee, botrytis and fungicides?????

  5. TomT says:

    There’s no reference to a study supporting that 3AEY is not harmless to bees, hopefully this has been tested. Also, no reference to results from sensory analysis of wines made from treated grapes, this is important to know.

  6. Harry Vice says:

    Australia desperately needs this alternative natural product too.

  7. Kent Benson says:

    How does a pesticide kill a fungus?

    • Tim says:

      ‘Pesticide’ is a category that includes fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, acaracides, etc. ‘Fungicides’ are materials that kill fungi (like botrytis). Neonicotinoids are insecticides, and have nothing to do with botrytis control. Nor do any of the other botryticides (to my knowledge) have anything to do with honeybee toxicity. So linking ‘neonicotinoids’ and ‘honeybees’ with ‘botryticide’ is a total red herring and undoubtedly just a marketing ploy.

  8. Jim Kamas says:

    This author is mixing apples and oranges. Neonicotenoids are insecticides. Yes, there is cause for concern, but this product is a fungicide. We are all looking for less environmental impact, but the author needs to learn a little something about growing grapes.

  9. Ross Cannard says:

    It’s unfortunate that an article about a potentially interesting and important product is this poorly researched and written. The neonicotinoid issue has little to nothing to do with viticulture, as they are (to the best of my knowledge, and as mentioned in the article) used as an insecticidal treatment for annual crop seed. The product being discussed is a fungicide, and could in no way replace neonicotinoids. Apples and oranges, grain and grapes, insects and botrytis. This article is an excellent example of bad journalism.

  10. Derek says:

    As a few have pointed out, this is a seriously flawed article. No research was done before publishing. While it is true that neonics have been implicated as possibly effecting bees, botrytis has nothing to do with bees or neonicitenoid pesticides. It is very unlikely that neonicitenoids applied to grapevines will come into contact with bees. Grapes are wind pollinated, not bee polinated. It is interesting to have a new botryticide. At least that part was true.

  11. cynthia says:

    . Tea tree oil IS a natural wonder and can be used to treat a multitude of things. However, we all know too much of a good thing can b bad. That being said, yes Tea tree is a.nd has been used jn killing Toe nail fungus, etc…it is extremely toxic in large quantities , I’ve learned it only takes a small quantity to pollute a water way or system. And then how are they changing its makeup from being effective from 12hrs to 14days and when the fungus adapts to this ” natural solution” then what, or will we have exhausted our tea tree oil resource by then. I’m all for the natura, just hoping the research has been done in all aspects and is available for dowload

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