Ontochem and Priaxon Join Forces to Increase Stress Tolerance of Crops

New approach shall minimize growth losses without genetic engineering

Story content courtesy of B3C Newswire, DE

This month, Ontochem GmbH and Priaxon AG announced the entry into a collaboration and commercialization agreement to obtain new superior inhibitors of the plant PARP, poly(ADP-ribose)polymerase enzyme. The goal of this collaboration is to increase the intrinsic stress tolerance of agricultural crops and accordingly minimizing growth losses by abiotic stress.

Multinational companies are trying to solve the problem by genetically modified crops, requiring extensive development time and approval procedures per plant species. In contrast, the PARP inhibitors of this cooperation shall be applicable to all crop species without causing any health problems to other species. Genetic engineering will not be an issue for the development.

Approximately 40% of all crop losses are induced by abiotic stress, whereas only 20% are caused by insects or weeds. Typical abiotic stress factors are drought, UV radiation and soil loading by salts. The plant enzyme PARP is only being activated under stress conditions. When activated, metabolic PARP processes consume a lot of energy resources of the plant, which are than missing for the normal growth of the plant.

In this Biotech-Biotech cooperation Ontochem will explore and optimize the biological efficacy of novel inhibitors on enzymes and plants. In parallel, the effects on insects and other animals are examined and excluded. Priaxon takes over the planning and syntheses of new potential inhibitors.

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