Open Innovation Submission Portal

Sustainable methods for reducing the amount and/or environmental impact of agro-chemicals on key crops

Request Number 155725 | Author Mondelēz International


Natural, safe means for increasing growth of key crops such as wheat and cocoa and/or to fight common insect pests such as mirids in cocoa and diseases such as fusarium head blight in wheat and black pod disease in cocoa.


Good agricultural practices form part of the important armory against pest and disease yield losses by promoting healthy crop growth and improved tolerance of stress including attack from pest and diseases. For example, optimizing the soil microbiome has been shown to increase the nitrogen fixing capability of the microbes found in the root system of some crop species. There are also other natural approaches currently available that can successfully control diseases and pests. One example is the use of endophytic Trichoderma martiale strain ALF 247 to control black-pod rot in cocoa, although in many of cases  further development is required to bring the product to market to provide economically viable methods for biocontrol  at scale. One example of a natural approach that has been successfully brought to market is the  production of peanuts with a reduced level of aflatoxin through  the application of a competitive strain of A. flavus.   This strain is not capable of making the aflatoxin and out-competes the toxin-producing strains naturally present thereby lowering levels to 3% of what it would otherwise be in shelled, edible-grade peanuts. In many cases it is thought that the natural pesticides have sufficient efficacy but with the added advantage of much lower levels of detrimental side effects compared to the standard synthetic chemicals. As such, many consumers see them as having stronger credentials for environmental safety and personal safety. Chemical fertilisers, particularly nitrogen, are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions both in the production phase and on-farm. To sustainably increase yield in both wheat and cocoa there is a need to improved efficiencies of nutrient use, reduce losses and ideally identify low carbon nutrient sources.

Key Success Criteria
  • Effective control of pests and disease - high survival rate of strains
  • Improve nitrogen fixation
  • Easy handling materials (low environmental sensitivity/ product stability to sunlight, humidity, temperature, rain);
  • Environmentally friendly - biodegradability or do not persist in the local or downstream environment
  • Shouldn't require additional equipment or investment for farmers
  • Reduced carbon emissions
  • Must have at least Proof-of-concept data
Possible Approaches

Soil microbiome technology

What We Aren't Interested In
  • Materials with very short shelf life or those that require a controlled supply chain
  • Genetic control systems & methods
Preferred Collaboration types

At this moment we are open to most types such as Research, Development Contract, Licensing, Joint Development and Supply

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