Hort Innovation research and development general manager David Moore said the new work followed more than four years of research into developing the product, and the trials presented an exciting step toward the commercialisation of BioClay.
“The Australian vegetable industry is among Australia’s largest horticultural industries with an estimated annual gross production value of $3.7 billion, and exports to Asia and the Middle East valued at over $270 million,” he said.
“Globally, an estimated 40 per cent of food grown is lost to crop pests and pathogens.
“Pest and disease management is increasingly challenging for both the fruit and vegetable and cotton industries, who are facing climate change, pesticide resistance and chemical use limitations.
UQ research arm, the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, is leading the trials, and while the project is not due for completion until 2021, agricultural biotechnologist and research leader, Professor Neena Mitter, said early signs were promising.
“Through large-scale trials, we know that BioClay works, and the work we have done to date provides a great foundation for pest and disease management across vegetable and cotton crops,” she said.
“BioClay offers sustainable crop protection and residue free food produce – which consumers demand.
“There is no genetic modification of the plants, and the process does not involve chemicals that might affect untargeted insects.
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation using the research and development levy, the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for the Australian horticulture sector.