39 North Innovation District Plan Unveiled
The Science in Our Food
(Agri-Pulse) Who is leading the charge for new precision breeding tools?
Plenty of precision breeding innovation
Tuesday, January 20, 2018 READ MORE
(St. Louis Public Radio) St. Louis plant scientists use podcast to dig deep into the struggles of research
Researchers Liz Haswell and Ivan Baxter spend most their time trying to understand how plants function.
Monday, January 8, 2018 READ MORE
(HEC-TV) New Smart Crop-Monitoring Platform Alerts Farmers & Growers About Their Crops
Researchers at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center have created a crop phenotyping station called the PheNode.
Wednesday, January 3, 2018 READ MORE
(KMOX) C-Speak Podcast: Sam Fiorello
Mark Reardon talks with Sam Fiorello on the C-Speak Podcast, the language of executives by KMOX
Friday, December 29, 2017 READ MORE
(Talking Biotech Podcast) Control of Aflatoxin in Groundnut
Dilip Shah and a team of researchers worked to devise a multi-faceted plan to protect groundnut from fungal infections.
Saturday, December 23, 2017 READ MORE
(MIT Technology Review) These Are Not Your Father's GMOS
A new wave of gene-edited crops are dodging regulators, and they're about to reach stores.
Thursday, December 21, 2017 READ MORE
New Hire to Advance Human Resources
Danforth Center Welcomes Anna Dibble
Wednesday, November 29, 2017 READ MORE
(Forbes) Collaboration Provides Hope In The Battle Against Mycotoxin Induced Cancer In The Developing World
There is new hope for a solution to this vexing health issue based on a recent collaboration between groups of scientists in the US and in India.
Saturday, November 4, 2017 READ MORE
(AgFunder News) Is St. Louis the Silicon Valley of Agtech?
St. Louis has worked hard to be a magnet for Fortune 500 companies. Nine members of this elite class call the city home, not the least of which is multinational agricultural giant Monsanto.
Thursday, November 2, 2017 READ MORE
DuPont Pioneer and Danforth Center Collaborate to Apply Cutting-Edge Technologies to Improve Crops for Smallholder Farmers
The suite of technologies DuPont Pioneer is providing to the project is revolutionary
Tuesday, October 17, 2017 READ MORE
National Science Foundation Funds Multi-Institutional Project to Improve Harvests of One of the Most Important Crops in U.S. Agriculture
Danforth Center Receives $3.4M to Improve Maize Architecture
Wednesday, October 11, 2017 READ MORE
U.S. Department of Energy Awards Danforth Center $16M to Enhance Sorghum for Bioenergy A multi-institutional research effort aims to optimize photosynthesis and water use efficiency
Monday, October 2, 2017 READ MORE
TechAccel Invests in Unique Sprayable RNAi Pesticide Technology First “Path to Commercialization” Grant Awarded to Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Monday, September 11, 2017 READ MORE
Why a St. Louis event could be one of agtech’s biggest disruptors: 4 questions with Bayer's R&D head
Monday marks the start of the ninth annual Ag Innovation Showcase.
Monday, September 11, 2017 READ MORE
The Future of Agriculture is Center Stage at Ag Innovation Showcase
Bees, new food sources and machine learning are leading trends
Thursday, August 31, 2017 READ MORE
(St. Louis Business Journal) Greitens touts Israeli relationship as economic generator
St. Louis is already home to a number of Israeli-founded companies that have moved to the area thanks to GlobalSTL, an initiative started and organized by BioSTL several years ago.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017 READ MORE
Analysis Linking Field and Controlled Environments Reveals Key Traits Controlling Height
Discovery could help improve yield in food and bioenergy crops
Monday, July 10, 2017 READ MORE
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KANSAS CITY, MO.—September 11, 2017—TechAccel, the Kansas City-based technology and venture development company, today announced it has awarded the first grant under its “Path to Commercialization” program at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, one of the world’s largest independent plant science institutes located in St. Louis, MO.
The $60,000 grant will fund a project to demonstrate a sprayable technology to apply RNA interference (or RNAi) technology in a biopesticide targeting the Diamondback moth. The Diamondback moth attacks cruciferous vegetable crops like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage, and is responsible for billions of dollars in crop losses every year worldwide.
“Our first grant will support a new platform technology applied to one of the world’s worst insect pests,” said Michael Helmstetter, Ph.D., president and chief executive of TechAccel. “This project is a perfect example of our science advancement commitment with the Danforth Center. We see great potential in using this RNAi technology as a biopesticide against the Diamondback moth.”
TechAccel is a venture and technology development company focused in agriculture and animal health. The company invests in or acquires new technology and funds science advancement programs with research university partners to assist in commercialization.
TechAccel and the Danforth Center announced the “Path to Commercialization” Program in December 2016 as part of a strategic relationship. Since then, TechAccel also has leased office space at the Danforth Center to further encourage collaboration in science advancement opportunities.
“This technology uses RNAi to alter an insect’s gut immune system,” said James Carrington, Ph.D., president of the Danforth Center. “The funded project allows us to test a new delivery approach that will enable use on a wide variety of crops. The technology uses a highly selective mechanism to control crop-damaging insects with low environmental impact.”
The RNAi technology project, nicknamed “Danforth Biosprey,” will be led by Nigel Taylor, Ph.D., who is the interim director of the Institute for International Crop Improvement, associate member and Dorothy J. King Distinguished Investigator at Danforth Center.
The project, which will be performed at Danforth Center laboratories and facilities, is expected to take about six months to complete. The project will apply technology developed by Taylor and Bala Venkata, Ph.D., a research scientist with the Danforth Center’s Institute for International Crop Improvement. The technology was originally proven effective in the Tobacco hornworm; this project applies the same technique to the Diamondback moth.
“A logical next step might include an expansion of the platform, perhaps testing effectiveness of a biopesticide for army worms, ear worms and other insect pests,” said Helmstetter. “Additionally, we believe the sprayable solution could make the new technology immediately attractive to major crop producers.”
The “Path to Commercialization” grant program, which has a goal of advancing and commercializing agricultural innovations from the laboratory into the marketplace, was funded with an initial $250,000. TechAccel is now exploring additional proof-of-concept and commercial feasibility studies with principal investigators at the Danforth Center.
According to a paper published in the Journal of Economic Entomology in 2012, the worldwide economic impact of the Diamondback moth has been calculated at $4 billion to $5 billion annually. The Diamondback moth’s pest status has grown in recent years due to greater production of vegetable and oilseed crops while the moth has steadily developed increasing resistance to chemical pesticides.
About TechAccel TechAccel, LLC, was founded in 2014 as a first-of-its-kind technology and venture development company in the agriculture and animal health sectors. TechAccel sources, invests in and acquires early-stage innovations. Through collaborations with universities and research institutions, TechAccel conducts advancement and de-risking research and development to ready technologies for commercialization. For more information, visit www.TechAccel.net. Follow us on Twitter at @Tech_Accel.
About The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Founded in 1998, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center is a not-for-profit research institute with a mission to improve the human condition through plant science. Research, education and outreach aim to have impact at the nexus of food security and the environment, and position the St. Louis region as a world center for plant science. The Center’s work is funded through competitive grants from many sources, including the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Energy, National Science Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. To keep up to date with Danforth Center’s current operations and areas of research, please visit, www.danforthcenter.org, featuring information on Center scientists, news and the “Roots & Shoots” blog. Follow us on Twitter at @DanforthCenter.
Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Melanie Bernds, Director of Public Relations
| TechAccelNigel TaylorInstitute for International Crop Improvementag showcase