Wed, 06 Dec 2023

Executive Summary

  • Diptia is a patent-pending bioactive organic fertiliser derived from insect frass
  • Formulated to prevent fungal plant diseases and build soil health
  • 100% organic fertiliser formulated from Black Soldier Fly (BSF) frass, with added micronutrients and microbial biocontrol agents
  • Composted and enhanced with a microbial inoculant and insect chitin from BSF
  • By reintroducing frass-based products back into agriculture, we are getting closer to the stability and resilience of a natural ecosystem

SINGAPORE, May 8, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- 

Leading Agtech company, Nutrition Technologies, launches Diptia biofertilizer from insect frass
Leading Agtech company, Nutrition Technologies, launches Diptia biofertilizer from insect frass

The Product Innovation

On the 5 May 2023, Nutrition Technologies launched their new bioactive organic fertiliser, Diptia, specifically designed & formulated to combat fungal plant diseases, and protect soil from infection. Diptia is a patent pending Nutrition Technologies product derived from Black Soldier Fly frass, that has been composted and enhanced with a microbial biocontrol agent and insect chitin. The bacteria was isolated from the BSF larvae itself, and has been shown to inhibit plant pathogens. The chitin is sourced from the exoskeleton of the mature insect pupae and is added to the product to increase the available chitin. These components work together to protect the plant root zone from phytopathogenic fungi while improving the plant's natural defences against disease.

The problem being solved

Fungal diseases of crops are increasingly prevalent in tropical agriculture and lack viable prevention and control measures. These diseases cause billions of dollars in losses every year, as well as posing a huge risk to food security. For example, in Malaysia alone Ganoderma boninense has infected over 151,208 Ha and generated losses of RM1.3 billion (USD300 million) per year through reduced yields and dead trees. As a soil pathogen that infects trees through the roots, the infection is often undetected for 10+ years. Similarly, Fusarium oxysporum

f. sp. cubense (Foc TR4) poses an existential threat to the cavendish banana industry, worth USD25 billion annually, and makes up 99% of all banana exports. Foc TR4 causes a type of Panama disease, for which there is neither an effective method of treatment nor prevention.

Conventional solutions and the need for innovation

Conventional disease control measures currently rely on fungicides and aggressive sanitization such as burning the soil. For many fungal pathogens these methods are rarely effective, where they do work they are associated with damaged soils and provide the conditions for the development of fungicide-resistance strains. Diptia provides a natural and potent alternative that uses multiple modes of action to both prevent the pathogen from reaching the plant roots, and improving plant defences.

Multiple modes of action future-proof the performance

Insect frass is a common nutrient source for plants in nature, and plants have complex mechanisms to benefit from frass. For instance, plants have receptors that recognize chitin in their environments - usually an indication of fungal attack - which stimulates the upregulation of their immune system in response. By reintroducing frass-based products back into agriculture, we are getting closer to the stability and resilience of a natural ecosystem. The frass of the Black Soldier Fly larvae (Hermetia illucens, BSF) have particularly powerful antifungal properties thanks to their life-history - a tropical insect that evolved in competition with fungi for access to the same nutrients. That evolutionary arms race gave the BSF powerful molecular and microbiological tools to inhibit fungi, and encourage beneficial microbes.

In addition to the plant health benefits of Diptia, it is also a premium organic fertiliser with an attractive NPK profile, carbon content and rich micronutrients, and the high microbial activity of the product improves both soil structure and health. These elements combine in a way that means farm soil can actually improve over time, rather than becoming depleted, adding to the financial benefits of Diptia for farmers.

Tested in the Lab and in the Field

Diptia has been rigorously evaluated in laboratory conditions( in-vitro) and in greenhouse and field conditions (in-vivo). In-vitro Diptia was found to inhibit Foc TR4 by up to 90% and Ganoderma boninense by up to 82% in multiple antifungal assays which includes disk diffusion, sample-amended medium and dual layer agar methods. Results from a third-party greenhouse pot trial with Cavendish banana and Foc TR4 indicate that Diptia and a soon-to-be-released liquid foliar product resulted in a Disease Severity Index as low as 4.17% compared to 100% in the control. The trial was conducted by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Noor Baity Saidi of the Faculty of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), she is also a research associate at the Laboratory of Sustainable Agronomy and Crop Protection, Institute of Plantation Studies, UPM. "These results demonstrate a strong disease suppression potential by the Diptia product, which could ultimately help control this economically devastating disease for Malaysian farmers." said Dr. Noor Baity Saidi. The trial is a significant milestone and adds to a growing portfolio of field application trials that will soon be followed by new larger field challenge trials in banana and oil palm.

Low energy, sustainable production system

Nutrition Technologies have a low-energy tropical production system that uses a unique combination of micro-organisms and Black Soldier Flies to bioconvert 60,000 tonnes of organic by-products into value-added products for livestock and agriculture. As a tropical species, the Black Soldier Fly larvae grow quickly and efficiently in the ambient Malaysian climate, meaning that very little energy is required to grow or breed the flies. This low-energy model means that the company benefits from a very low cost of production, but with the same high standards as any European or North American manufacturer, and is able to pass-on those savings to the customer. This makes Nutrition Technologies' products some of the most competitively priced insect products in the world, without compromising on quality or safety. The company currently ships industrial volumes of material throughout Asia, North & South America and Europe, from the two hectare factory in Malaysia.

"This is the first of two new plant health products we will be launching this year " said Nick Piggott, Co-CEO, Nutrition Technologies. "Understanding how insects fit into the incredibly complex natural ecosystem has enabled us to harness their power for decomposition, and create a new plant health value proposition not found anywhere else in the world. Diptia directly addresses two of the most economically dangerous plant pathogens in the world - Ganoderma in oil palms and Fusarium oxysporum in bananas. Both of these diseases have the potential to wreak havoc on the global food supply chain if left un-checked, so the release of Diptia is a massive step forward in securing the future supply of these two staple crops".

The insect sector has gathered increasing attention over the past few years, with the global insect protein market alone estimated to be worth US$343 million in 2021, and expected to grow with a CAGR of 26.49% to reach US$1.3 billion by 2027. As a sustainable solution to help minimise multiple unsustainable practices, the sector as a whole has seen investments totalling nearly US$1 billion.

About Nutrition Technologies

Nutrition Technologies is biotech company headquartered in Singapore and operating in Malaysia on a mission to address global food security. Founded in 2015 by two British entrepreneurs, Nick Piggott & Tom Berry, the company manufactures sustainable animal feed ingredients and biofertilisers, using a unique combination of biotechnology and black soldier fly larvae to recycle nutrients from agricultural and food processing by- products. In 2021 the company scaled-up to industrial production with the launch of its two-hectare factory in Johor, Malaysia. It is now a step further on its path towards developing a sustainable circular economy within the agricultural sector. Nutrition Technologies plans to build several similar size facilities across Southeast Asia in the next 5 years. More information can be found at www.nutrition-technologies.com

 

 

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