Joint endeavor: SAN Group and BOKU in chemical-free plant protection

12. July 2021

SAN Group signed a collaboration agreement with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) and its Department IFA-Tulln to support future technologies on chemical-free plant protection.

SAN Group enters a long-term collaboration with the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) in the field of biotechnological plant protection and bioanalytics. Founder of SAN Group, Prof. Erich Erber, said that SAN Agrow division is investing in new biotechnological solutions to meet the challenges of sustainable crop production with fewer chemicals. Univ.Prof. Rudolf Krska, deputy-head of BOKU’s Department of Agrobiotechnology IFA-Tulln and Head of the Institute of Bioanalytics and Agro-Metabolomics, recognized the strong commitment that BOKU’s honorary senator Prof. Erber has made to science, in particular to the agricultural industry, for more than 25 years, and emphasized that successful and sustainable technologies should be built on sound science and analytics.

One research program involves the use of a previously overlooked natural organism to biologically control plant diseases in the soil and in the base of plants. If the long-term research is successful, it would represent a novel step forward in non-chemical disease control. SAN Agrow Managing Director Matthias Klemm, says: “Without the commitment to this basic research, such new natural, and potentially industry-changing technologies would not be realized.”

SAN Agrow incorporates bio-ferm, a local Austrian company that specializes in biological control of fungal and bacterial plant diseases. After the purchase of Westbridge Agricultural Products (USA) last year, SAN Agrow now has a wider biological portfolio for organics and sustainable crop production including fertilizers, bio stimulants, and biological products for the control of weeds, pests and diseases. Klemm says: “We have ambitious plans to grow worldwide with an expanding portfolio of effective biological solutions, and a pipeline of new product development to meet the needs of growers.”

The University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU), an innovation leader in green economy, is one of Europe’s renowned universities in the field of sustainably integrating scientific, technical, and socio-economic topics, and integrating them into all processes in society. BOKU’s Institute of Biotechnology in Plant Production at the Department of Agrobiotechnology, IFA-Tulln, is dedicated to basic and applied research in the field of crop improvement. The mission of BOKU’s Institute of Bioanalytics and Agro-Metabolomics at IFA-Tulln is to perform cutting-edge scientific research, and to develop advanced methods in the field of (bio‑)analytical chemistry. In the scientific networks, the institute’s head, Prof. Rudolf Krska, has been identified numerous times as a top 1% Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Analytics, and thus as one of the world’s most influential contemporary researchers. The institute also closely collaborates with the Austrian Competence Centre for Feed and Food Quality, Safety and Innovation, which is co-owned by BOKU. Within this cooperation, the institute can provide a “full spectrum analysis” utilizing its award-winning multi-contaminant approach for the quantification of >1,200 agrochemicals incl. 700 (toxic) secondary metabolites of plants and fungi, and 500 pesticides.

Univ.Prof.Dr. Rudolf Krska and Prof. Erich Erber sign the cooperation agreement (© SAN Group)
The project Teams of SAN Agrow and University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) (© SAN Group)