FREEMYCO – A novel bio-controlling pre-harvest method to eliminate the mycotoxins contamination in agri-food sector

IDEAGRO, INVESTIGACIÓN Y DESARROLLO DE ENSAYOS AGROALIMENTARIOS, SL, an independent research company dedicated to the agro-alimentary sector is currently developing a new mycotoxin biocontrol product ready for market (FREEMYCO).

 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 875863

 

Mycotoxins produced by fungi that grow on grain and cereal crops are a persistent threat to human health, with no effective and sustainable solution currently available. Aflatoxin produced by species of Aspergillus fungus is a particular threat.

The FREEMYCO project has identified an effective biological control agent and is conducting a feasibility study to bring this biocontrol product to market. Researchers at Ideagro have identified a strain of Trichoderma koningiopsis fungus, which controls Aspergillus and other mycotoxin producing fungi pre-harvest, for both conventional and organic agriculture. It has been tested exhaustively and found to be effective in vitro. FREEMYCO will assess the economic, technical and commercial viability of the business plan, test the product in vivo, and formulate a final product for commercial markets.

Project Objective

Mycotoxins are toxic molecules produced by different fungal strains such as Aspergillus, Fusarium and Penicillium that mainly affect grains both in the pre and postharvest stages. One of them, aflatoxin, is one of the most hazardous toxins for human health, and till date there is no solution to control it through a sustainable way.

Ideagro is a 9-year experienced company which main activity is R&D focused on the agrifood sector.


Our R&D efforts have found that a Trichoderma koningiopsis strain fungus (IDE-Tri1) is able to control the aforenamed fungi and toxins in cereals crops in a preharvest stage. Thus, in the wake of these investigation works, FREEMYCO is born as the unique bio-fungicide active substance that have shown its absolute effectiveness for Aspergillus fungi and consequently aflatoxin in cereal crops during pre-harvest stage, for both conventional and organic agriculture.

It will be able to control also remaining mycotoxins which are less harmful. It has been successfully tested through in vitro and in vivo tests. FREEMYCO is a great economic opportunity (cumulative potential profit of €11.47M in three years after its launching) to take advantages of a natural product for facing a serious problem for agriculture, food quality/security and human health in a sustainable way. Our target customers are the largest phytosanitary producers’ firms.

We consider that through a B2B business approach we will be successful to penetrating into the highly competitive global bio-pesticide market and ensure our product selling.

This Feasibility Study’s goal is to deepen in those key points to assess the economic, technical and commercial viability of FREEMYCO (including in vivo trial and end final product formulation) to tackle this challenge for us to scale-up.