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Natural bacteria against plant disease


Research Professor Paal Krokene (NIBIO), Researcher Tage Thorstensen (NIBIO) and Professor Dzung B. Diep (NMBU), are the scientists behind Agribiotix AS.

Photo: Siri Elise Dybdal

Researchers from NIBIO and NMBU will use knowledge about natural bacterial to fight antibiotic-resistant bacterial and plant diseases in a new innovation company.

There is a great need for new alternative biological pesticides that do not develop resistance to chemical pesticides. Biological alternatives may also be important for animal and human health. Incorrect use of antibiotics has caused many bacteria to become resistant to the medicines that we rely on today.

Now biotech company, Agribiotix AS, will use many years of research in natural bacterial substances to develop alternative products to antibiotics and chemical pesticides in agriculture. The company’s idea owners are researcher Tage Thorstensen, senior researcher Paal Krokene from NIBIO, and Professor Dzung B. Diep from NMBU.

The plan is to identify natural bacteria and peptides in lactic acid bacteria, soil bacteria and bacteria that lives naturally on plants. These will be used to develop new sustainable medicines for animals, and prophylactic preparations and vaccines in animal and plant health.

“We know for example that probiotics are good for the gut and general health of people. This is also the case for plants and animals. In plants they live on and in the roots and help facilitate the take up of nutrients. They also make the plants able to withstand infections,” explains Thorstensen.

One focus area will be combating fungal and bacterial disease in plants biologically using bacteria and plant vaccines.

“We already have promising results against black rot and Rhizoctonia in potatoes and against grey mould on lettuce,” explains Thorstensen.

The researchers aim to reduce the need for chemical sprays and increase production capacity.