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GEN News Highlights : Jul 23, 2013

Mendel Seeks New Crop of Natural Compounds in FundaciĆ³n Medina Partnership

Hayward, CA-based plant science firm Mendel Biotechnology is pairing up with Fundación Medina in an effort to identify biostimulants for agricultural applications. Biostimulants are agricultural chemical derived from natural sources that can be applied to improve crop productivity through improved stress tolerance, water and nutrient use efficiency, and overall growth and yield, according to Fundación Medina—a Spanish nonprofit organization focused on the discovery of new compounds from microbial origin and therapies for unmet medical needs.

Under the terms of the agreement, Fundación Medina will provide Mendel with microbial extracts from culture collections. Mendel will be mining these collections, screening to identify natural products for crop-improving characteristics. Drought tolerance and increased yield will be the initial focus of Mendel’s search.

Fundación Medina noted that natural products can typically be brought to market sooner and with reduced regulatory costs compared with their synthetic counterparts.

"We are very pleased to have identified a partner for the use of our collections to develop novel products for agriculture,” Olga Genilloud, Ph.D., the foundation’s scientific director, said in a statement. "Mendel’s screening systems offer an outstanding platform to discover novel natural products from our unique collections of microorganisms.”