Syngenta and Enko announce fungicide discovery

Moldy plums on tree, infected with fungal disease monilinia fructicola or brown rot. Blurred background.

Syngenta Crop Protection and the crop-health company Enko announced on Friday that – using a platform which expedites R&D – they have discovered a new chemical capable of controlling fungal diseases in crops.

The firms said that they made the breakthrough by screening billions of chemical molecules in Enko’s DNA-encoded libraries and then using artificial intelligence and machine learning models to identify the right compound.

Syngenta and Enko said that their discovery is the latest achievement in their multi-year, collaborative effort to bring novel crop-protection solutions to market. They added that they are now seeking to optimize the fungicide, which will undergo rigorous testing.

The companies pointed out that fungal pathogens cause farmers to lose between 10% to 23% of their yield, and thus represent a major challenge to crop health – and food security – worldwide. This challenge will only intensify as global warming worsens, they said.

Syngenta’s head of research, Camilla Corsi, expressed excitement at the development, remarking that ‘This novel chemistry promises to help farmers sustainably manage crops, protect yields, and combat resistance.’

Enko’s CEO, Jacqueline Heard, commented that ‘By proving that digital tools can cut discovery time for new crop protection solutions, we hope to accelerate the digital transformation shift within the agricultural industry as growers’ needs become more urgent.’

Syngenta and Enko revealed in their press release that they have also signed an agreement under which they will work together to create a new herbicide.

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