Santa Cruz Tech Beat

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BASF and Ontera collaborate on precision diagnostics to support farmers with in-field disease monitoring

(Contributed)

August 7, 2019 — Santa Cruz, CA and Limburgerhof, Germany

  • Portable detection device to be further developed for crop analysis

  • Real-time results will support farmers to address threats faster and more accurately

Ontera Inc. and BASF have announced a research collaboration to detect diseases and resistances in plants leveraging Ontera’s molecular diagnostic platform. The platform analyzes and quantifies multiple characteristics in less than 20 minutes, enabling farmers to address potential yield issues and threats to their harvest before they take hold. The collaboration between BASF and Ontera has the potential to provide farmers with easy-to-use, laboratory-quality molecular information in the field to enable early, more precise treatment of plant diseases and ensure healthy, high quality yields.

“Innovative diagnostic technology to catch threats to yield and quality early on is vital for modern, sustainable agriculture,” said Jürgen Huff, Senior Vice President Research and Development Crop Protection from BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division. “Our customers are professionals who expect innovation at the highest standards, and Ontera’s platform is a great complement to the strong innovation portfolio of BASF. It provides farmers with critical information needed to save crops, reduce losses and optimize pesticide application.”

Ontera’s platform uses silicon nanopore single-molecule sensors for multi-plex measurement of nucleic acids, proteins and small molecules. Lightweight and durableenough to be used in the field, it produces a quantitative analysis of traits, pathogens and pathogen resistance in just minutes, avoiding time-consuming laboratory procedures that make in-season, targeted application of crop protection products difficult.

“This collaboration is an excellent example of how Ontera is democratizing precision diagnostics to create a more sustainable planet,” said Murielle Thinard-McLane, CEO of Ontera. “We share BASF’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and by applying innovative thinking to real-world farming challenges, we can improve access to high quality foods in an environmentally healthy way, all while increasing the productivity and predictability of harvests.”

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

About Ontera
Ontera was founded with the idea that better information is needed to enhance human and environmental health in a sustainable way. The company aims to revolutionize diagnostics with its single-molecule detection and genome analysis platforms based on proprietary biochemistry and silicon nanopore chip-based sensors. These platforms will bring next-generation molecular diagnostics closer to the point of need, anywhere on earth. For more information, visit www.ontera.bio.

About BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division
With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. Working with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others, it is our role to help make this possible. That’s why we invest in a strong R&D pipeline and broad portfolio, including seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. With expert teams in the lab, field, office and in production, we connect innovative thinking and down-to-earth action to create real world ideas that work – for farmers, society and the planet. In 2018, our division generated sales of €6.2 billion. For more information, please visit www.agriculture.basf.com or any of our social media channels.

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