New product "proven as cure and prevention" for banana disease TR4
A "revolutionary" natural fungicide and bactericide is promising to end one of the most serious fungi on bananas plants, Fusarium wilt Tropical Race IV (TR4).
The consequences for the global farm workers, consumers and the planet are "staggering", according to agricultural biotech company Salveo.
Salveo’s Tectus Matrix product is a patent-pending, broad-spectrum natural and organic fungicide and bactericide liquid that controls and mitigates fungal and bacterial diseases in food, as well as ornamental crops and does not cause pathogenic mutations.
TR4, the current strain of Panama Disease, is threatening to annihilate the Cavendish banana. 99% of all exported bananas are of the ‘Cavendish’ variety. The new TR4 strain also affects more varieties of bananas, many which are the primary food source in countries around the world.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), TR4 is the most destructive of all banana plant diseases.
"Biosecurity measures" including on-farm quarantine are recommended to lessen its spread, but there is no known fungicidal treatment. Due to the longevity of the fungus in the soil, infected land becomes unavailable for banana or any other cultivation for decades.
This inability to grow food is creating broad-based concern throughout the agricultural industry. Without significant intervention, the FAO report says, TR4 could spread and destroy the majority of banana plantations by 2040, affecting an annual production potential of millions of tons of bananas. The estimated annual value of the banana industry is $25 billion dollars according to Bloomberg.
After the success of the 25-month banana field trials in Ecuador and urged by investors, Salveo’s team headed for the United States to Texas A&M University (TAMU), one of the top 20 agricultural universities globally. At TAMU the team successfully tested the dosing and efficacy of Tectus Matrix against TR4 from late 2019 – 2020.
After successful in vitro bioassays on TR4, more tests were performed in TAMU’s penthouse greenhouses. A randomized block design of in vivo studies was completed in July 2020. Tectus Matrix was proven as a preventative and curative on FOC TR4 on Cavenedish banana plants. The plants were inoculated with FOC TR4 obtained through ATCC® 96289.
“We are excited that our 3rd party bioassays with TAMU’s Plant Pathology Department proved that we have preventative and curative treatments for TR4,” says Tectus Matrix inventor Jack Bracewell, and Founder of Salveo.
“Tectus Matrix will be a new revenue stream for all involved,” concludes Bracewell, “and our next step is to partner with one of the top BIG Agro chemical companies that have a global infrastructure already in place to save the bananas and restore banana plantations worldwide.”
The ongoing four-year studies also found Tectus Matrix to be effective in treating diseases affecting other major food crops including rice, coffee, cacao and grapes.
In addition, the formula doubled the yield on tomatoes in greenhouse tests in Quito, Ecuador according to their farm manager.
Correction August 15: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Texas A&M University has created Tectus Matrix.