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Novel pesticidal or fungicidal compounds against organisms containing Chitin and screening method to identify them

Country of Origin: Spain
Reference Number: TOES20210218001
Publication Date: 19 February 2021


A Spanish university has developed and patented pesticidal or fungicidal compounds against organisms containing Chitin and a method for their screening, useful for identifying agricultural fungicides or for controlling other pests such as insects or nematodes that are harmful for crops and/or mammals. The University is looking for companies to reach a license or technical cooperation agreement.


Currently, sustainable agriculture is moving forward to provide new advances and solutions to overcome the impact of pathogenic organisms' resistance to pesticides and the crop losses this can cause. 

In this sense a Spanish university has developed a new method to identify compounds against pathogenic organisms that contain Chitin. Chitin is one of the most important biopolymers in nature. It is mainly produced by fungi, arthropods (crustaceans and insects) and nematodes.

The compounds are novel inhibitors of the deacetylation enzyme (CDA) that affect chitin-containing organisms. By blocking the action of this key-enzyme, plants can start their immune defence response. The university has already identified 20 novel compounds with a demonstrable CDA inhibitory activity using this method and the fungicidal, arthropocidal and / or nematicidal activities of said compounds could be confirmed.

These CDA inhibitor compounds have potential for the control of phytopathogenic fungi by stimulating the defenses of the plant. They also have potential for arthropod control through an insecticidal action and they have the potential to control nematodes by a nematicidal action.

The researchers behind this development belong to a Microbiology and Crop Protection research group and the Molecular Topology and Drug Design Research Unit of the University. Together, they constitute an interdisciplinary team with knowledge in Microbiology, Pharmacy, Physical Chemistry, and Chemistry. They are looking for companies from the chemical or pharma industry to license the technology in order to bring this innovation to the market. Alternatively they are looking for a technical cooperation agreement where they can provide their expertise in order to collaborate with scientists on further development and improvements of the technology.

Advantages and Innovations

−Safety:  unlike other pesticides the CDA inhibitor compounds have no negative effects on crops or consumers,and are safe pesticides for plants and mammals.

−Wide spectrum of action: They have an effect on multiple pests of organisms that have chitin (phytopathogenic fungi, insects, nematodes).

- Resistance is not expected in target organisms as it is a novel mechanism of action, but its use in combination with other mechanisms of action would be desirable.

−Economic savings and ecological impact: Its effectiveness at relatively low concentrations would mean an economic saving for the farmer and a smaller footprint for the environment.

- the screening method provides a efficient way for identifying CDA inhibitor compounds, used in chitin-containing pathogens' mechanisms to evade plants' immune response.

Stage Of Development

Prototype available for demonstration

Requested partner

Agrochemical industries that want to enter into a licensing agreement or alternatively technical agreement in order to exploit this patent. Another sector of interest could be animal and human health (veterinary and pharmaceutical industries), since nematicidal and arthropocidal could be prepared from these same compounds.
Task to be performed:
* In the license agreement: to buy a license for the technology, to further develop it to the industrial scale and to introduce it into the market.
* In the technical cooperation agreement: to provide their expertise in order to collaborate with the scientists on further development and improvements of the technology. The company should identify technical requirements and/or market and client's needs in order to carry out further technical development so that the market readiness will be increased and the technology could be commercially exploited.

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