Monday, January 26, 2015

A plant virus receives EPA registration as an herbicide

BioProdex, Inc., a spinoff enterprise based on research from the University of Florida-IFAS, Gainesville, has made history by developing and registering the world’s first biological herbicide containing a plant virus as the active ingredient. Named SolviNix LC, the bioherbicide is a novel, groundbreaking product signifying a new paradigm in herbicides. The active ingredient in SolviNix is a naturally occurring virus called the Tobacco mild green mosaic virus strain U2 and it is registered for the control of tropical soda apple, an invasive weed in the southeastern United States. 

The weed-killing ability of this virus was discovered and patented by Dr. R. “Charu” Charudattan, Dr. Ernest Hiebert, and associates in the Department of Plant Pathology, UF-IFAS.  BioProdex, Inc. licensed this technology from the University of Florida Research Foundation, developed an industrial process to mass-produce the virus, assembled safety and efficacy data based on extensive research and testing, and successfully registered the bioherbicide with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under FIFRA Section 3. 

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) enabled BioProdex to develop the mass production technology. The IR-4 Biopesticide and Organic Support Program, Princeton, NJ undertook and steered the registration effort for BioProdex.