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EARLY DETECTION OF NEMATODE INDUCED PLANT STRESS USING VIVENT’S BIOSIGNALS

Switzerland, June 21 2024
Bringing light into the dark – Real-time monitoring of nematode induced plant stress and nematicide efficacy using Vivent Biosignal’s revolutionary real-time crop monitoring solutions.

Vivent Biosignals is delighted to announce the publication of ground-breaking results of a highly innovative 18 month long experimental program, with Syngenta Crop Protection, in the Journal of Pest Science. Vivent’s technology was used to assess real-time plant responses to both plant parasitic nematode infections and for the first time, to nematicide efficacy. Led by Dr Andrzej Kurenda, of Vivent Biosignals, and Dr Anke Buchholz, of Syngenta Crop Protection, the study focused on the infestation of tomato plants by the root knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita, and introduced a novel approach utilizing plant electrophysiology for accurate detection and monitoring of nematode infections.

Plant-parasitic nematodes are microscopic organisms found in soil that feed on the roots of crops such as corn, potatoes and carrots1. Nematodes, which are very difficult for farmers to identify and control, are present in almost all agricultural soils, attacking crops and opening a path to further fungal infections, and reducing farmers’ yield and produce quality. Plant-parasitic nematodes and soil-borne diseases are invisible threats that can devastate crops and lead to yield losses of up to 12% globally per year – equating to an estimated loss of $150 billion a year for farmers2.

The study revealed that monitoring nematode-induced stress through electrophysiology correlated closely with conventional methods such as assessing root galls, as well as with xylem sap quantification, an innovative approach applied for the first time in this study. By recording electrophysiological signals from both infested and uninfested plants, researchers developed a trained model capable of indicating nematode-induced stress intensity and the progression of plant damage over time.

One of the most significant findings of the study was the real-time assessment of nematicide efficacy. For the first time, researchers recorded the reduction in plant stress delivered by effective nematicides. Plants treated preventatively with cyclobutrifluram exhibited a delayed and shorter period of low stress intensity compared to untreated plants, which experienced maximum stress for a prolonged duration. Furthermore, the study highlighted the different modes of biological activity exhibited by nematicides, such as fluopyram and abamectin, depending on the application type – preventative or curative. These insights have significant implications for optimizing nematicide application strategies to maximize crop protection and minimize environmental impact.

In conclusion, this pioneering research underscores the potential of plant electrophysiology as a game-changing tool for monitoring plant health in real-time, particularly in the case of ‘invisible’ pests like soil dwelling nematodes. By providing early detection and precise monitoring capabilities, this approach holds promise for enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability.

Vivent Biosignals records naturally occuring biological signals directly from plants themselves and decodes the signals using machine learning, so that plant responses to plant parasitic nematode infections become evident in real-time. Vivent’s technology shows when and how plants are reacting to root knot nematode attacks.

Carrol Plummer, CEO of Vivent said “This work is a great example of the large business and environmental benefits of getting information direct from plants themselves about the effects of plant diseases and treatments. Being able to detect plant stress from invisible pests, like harmful nematodes, as well as the beneficial responses to nematicides, will enable farmers to apply crop treatments in a more timely manner. Reducing the hours crops spend in a stressed state leads to improved yields. We are delighted that Vivent Biosignal’s technology is contributing to sustainable agriculture.”

About Vivent Biosignals:

Vivent was founded by well-known serial entrepreneurs Carrol Plummer and Dr. Nigel Wallbridge, who have now applied their information processing and telecommunication system skills to biological networking, with an initial focus on crops. Vivent’s team of expert plant and data scientists and experienced commercial personnel have worked with leading agricultural institutes, universities, crop protection companies and growers to validate this innovative approach to real-time crop health monitoring. Vivent’s focus is on high-tech indoor growing operations and higher-value outdoor crops. More information is available at https://www.vivent-biosignals.com

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About Syngenta Crop Protection:

Syngenta Crop Protection is a leader in agricultural innovation, bringing breakthrough technologies and solutions that enable farmers to grow productively and sustainably. We offer a leading portfolio of crop protection solutions for plant and soil health, as well as digital solutions that transform the decision-making capabilities of farmers. Our more than 18,300 employees serve to advance agriculture in close to 100 countries around the world. Syngenta Crop Protection is headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, and is part of the Syngenta Group.

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1. https://bsppjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/mpp.12057#mpp12057-bib-0094
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9229181/