Micromix Research and Development activities in 2016

 

Micromix Plant Health Ltd (MPH) has an increasing reputation for innovation and invention, the level of this activity is often unappreciated, even by its customers and trading partners.  In 2016 we have many commitments to R&D both in the UK and overseas a couple of examples are listed below:

 

Heat-Protection

The SMART award from Innovate UK (formerly the Technology Strategy Board) has enabled University of Nottingham to investigate the properties of the unique MPH abiotic stress-reducing materials. Initially the award aims to evaluate this novel technology in the field of heat protection and in order to generate the most useful and relevant information these trials are utilising bell peppers, as these are the most heat-sensitive crop grown commercially in the UK. Phase one has now been completed, and despite the English summer failing to deliver any stressfully-high temperatures in the glass houses, some valuable and fascinating information has been generated.

Yield responses of more than 50% in the absence of measurable stress have amazed researchers, and further grant funding will be sought to evaluate more crops and their responses to this new technology in detail. The pepper trial will now move into phase 2 utilising the growth rooms where plants can be readily subject to high levels of artificial heat stress. There is belief at UoN that the effects of this new technology are generated by its ability to turn genes on and off, and this is exciting even the most sceptical of observers and MPH is being encouraged to submit further applications for grant supported research.

 

AMIX formulations facilitate reductions in pesticides

Micromix has been successful in obtaining funding for phase one of a Horizon 2020 project under the SME instrument. This is notoriously difficult to achieve with a very low success rate, but MPH has been successful with an application aimed at confirming the small scale trials results in which we have seen pesticide reductions of more than 20%. The proof of concept work with initial investigation of the mechanism involved is being conducted at Nottingham Trent University.

The Phase two application will lead to three years of European trials in the UK, France and Germany (and potentially Holland and Poland too) on wheat and rape, and varying soil types, generating a large amount of data illustrating the consistent improvement to crop health where pesticides are used in conjunction with the AMIX range of micronutrient formulations. This effect has not been measurable with any alternative micronutrient formulation. Basically whether used in tank-mix with AMIX products or in sequence with them there has been measurable improvement in both levels and persistence of pest and disease control in several major crops, this research will both confirm and quantify these benefits. The belief of researchers is that the quantity of fungicides, PGR’s and insecticides required can be reduced by at least 20% without loss of yield or quality.

 

Food Quality Improvement

Micromix is part of a consortium that includes both a leading UK supermarket and Emerald crop science with AgriTech Catalyst funding to research the enhancement of the nutritional quality of leaf and root vegetables. This consortium is based at the James Hutton Institute (http://www.hutton.ac.uk/) who are probably best known for cloning Dolly the sheep.

Micromix’s contribution will revolve around the ability of the AMIX delivery system to create active uptake of minerals at the leaf surface, which facilitates nutrient enhancement of vital elements for health and fecundity like Selenium, Cobalt and Iodine, as well as more conventional supplements like Zinc, Copper and Iron. This having already been tested and proven in animal fodder grasses, right through to elevated blood levels with the AMIX Essential product for livestock production.

 

Worldwide trials with a leading agri-chemical company.

Micromix has had three materials selected for a worldwide trials programme run by one of the world’s leading agri-chemical companies. This is no mean feat as we were told that they receive 70 trial applications per month from companies like MPH and only a small number are selected for trial, evaluation and potential distribution. These trials started in South America in autumn 2015 and will move to the USA and Europe in spring 2016. MPH is excited to be working with one of the world’s largest crop chemicals and technology companies. We have our regulatory consultant Dr Martin Richards of Linmark Consulting to thank for this immense opportunity.

 

Plant Steroid Synthesis

This is another AgriTech Catalyst funded collaborative project based around Bangor University Chemistry Department, and Emerald crop science are again one of our partners in this exciting opportunity. The research surrounds the possibility of synthesising plant steroids from commonly available plant materials and waste yeasts. Plant steroids are powerful compounds that benefit plant development and health, they are active at very low concentrations, but until now the cost of extracting them from plant materials is so high as to price them out of general use. The project aims to provide high-purity synthesised materials from existing cheaper and readily-available precursors.

When successful, MPH will be able to bring many new products to the market and enhance existing ones using this new technology at acceptable cost as result of this development.

 

Endophytic Fungi

Micromix is pleased to be working with a prestigious overseas University Research Group to help with the commercial development of this exciting technology for the future and on a worldwide basis. We can share more about this when agreements are finalised.

 

Nano-technology

MicroCal to prevent sunburn on fruit crops and provide available calcium is the first of many developments that will involve nano-particles of insolubles in plant nutrition.

 

Foliar Nitrogen

Ongoing trials are being extended in 2016 to clearly demonstrate that some of the soil-applied nitrogen fertiliser can be substituted for a lower quantity of Foliar Nitrogen without yield or quality penalty. This reduces the environmental impact of nitrogen fertilisation considerably and is the new green-option for arable cropping. 2015 ADAS trials were very encouraging in this respect.

 

Seed Treatments

As well as the ongoing development of Prodigy, we have some good results from a Zinc based seed treatment on Sugar Cane in Brazil which we will also trial on Miscanthus (elephant grass for biomass production) in the UK, and we are testing the Cobalt/Molybdenum formulation on Soya beans in Brazil.

 

AMIX in Brazil

There are extensive trials of Amix Molly, Magnesium and Zinc on soya beans in Brazil

 

AMIX Mn

A trial is under way with Nottingham Trent University to establish the influence of AMIX Manganese on the efficacy of glyphosate herbicide in tank-mix. When glyphosate is used on GM crops in S America it causes temporary Mn deficiency, and many formulations of Manganese adversely affect the performance of the glyphosate. This trial should confirm that not only does AMIX Mn not adversely affect performance of glyphosate, but actually enhances it performance.