AOX Fungicides receive over £1m in University of Sussex's first Industrial Partnership Award

Professor Tony Moore has been awarded over £1 million for the continuation of research into the development of novel fungicides, in what is the first Industrial Partnership Award received by the University of Sussex. Professor Moore has worked closely with the Sussex Innovation Centre over a number of years to realise commercial opportunities for the development of fungicide resistance inhibitors.

The award, from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), in collaboration with Agform Ltd, will help to drive vital research into the control of respiratory activity in fungi which attack the world's major cereal crops. In collaboration with Agform, fungicides will be designed to target the 'alternative oxidase', a protein which plays a key role in the respiratory chain of fungi. It is hoped that this will help to combat increasing resistance to fungicides, and ultimately protect crops.

"Fungicides play a key role in the control of diseases in crops, and are a vital part of ensuring global food security," said Professor Moore. "Our work has provided us with the platform to design novel compounds, specifically targeted to the alternative oxidase in fungi that attack major cereal crops such as wheat, barley and rice. This research could also help to prove a vital treatment for diseases such as African sleeping sickness, Black Sigatoka, a fungus currently devastating banana plantations in South East Asia, and prevent the spread of ash dieback disease in Europe."

The work is set to be carried out in collaboration with Agform Ltd, a company which develops agrochemicals to help control fungi in crops including wheat, rice, soybeans and vines.

"We are very pleased to offer this support to the project, and we look forward to our continuing collaboration with regard to the research, involving the undoubted skills of both of our organisations," said John Misselbrook, Managing Director of Agform. "Resistance to agrochemicals is an international problem that affects all major crops. Any new product identified by our collaboration could be very valuable to a large market, and important in the cultivation of cereal crops in the UK."