Nanomik Biotechnology Protects Crops From Fungi Using Biomimetic Principles

Oct 27, 2020 9:30 AM ET

Nanomik Biotechnology protects crops from fungi by controlling the release of plant defense molecules found throughout nature.

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Nanomik Biotechnology is one of nine finalist teams that competed for the 2020 Ray of Hope Prize®, awarded by the Ray C. Anderson Foundation and the Biomimicry Institute.

Nanomik Biotechnology protects crops from fungi by controlling the release of plant defense molecules found throughout nature. Their targeted microencapsulation system is applied in both pre-harvest and post-harvest applications and outperforms synthetic fungicides, all while treating a broad spectrum of fungal diseases.

Problem and Opportunity

Every year 25% of total fruit and vegetable products are lost or wasted because of fungal spoilage. In order to prevent this loss different synthetic fungicides are used. The total fungicide market is $18.75B. However, these fungicides can cause serious harm to both human and environmental health. For this reason, almost 30% of fungicides on the market are banned by governments. In addition, another critical problem is that fungi develop resistance to these fungicides.


Plants produce volatile molecules to protect themselves and their community from fungal diseases. Although these molecules are very effective, they can not persist for more than a few minutes. Nanomik has created a solution using customized encapsulation technology for these defense molecules. Immediately after application in the field, these microcapsules attach to the surface of both plants and fungi and are released in a controlled manner.

Biomimicry in Practice

Plants have developed many methods to combat microbial diseases. Volatile molecules produced by plants protect them from many fungal diseases and also stimulate other plants in the environment to activate their defense system. Nanomik Biotechnology is inspired by this defensive system of plants in nature. We make these volatile molecules more durable, to better withstand physical and chemical factors. Nanomik Biotechnology combats fungal diseases by leveraging nature’s genius – beating the effectiveness of synthetic chemicals without the associated harm to human or planetary health.

To learn more about Nanomik Biotechnology click here.

Art and Animation by Jules Bartl

Produced and Narrated by Ed Prosser

Valerie Bennett
Ray C. Anderson Foundation
+1 (770) 317-5858
Twitter: @RaysLegacy
Instagram: @rcafoundation
Lex Amore
Biomimicry Institute
+1 (415) 800-1407
Twitter: @BiomimicryInst
Instagram: @biomimicryinstitute