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Sequencing our NoFly

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NoFly is an emblematic product of Futureco Bioscience. It was registered as a phytosanitary product at the European level in 2013, to combat whitefly in certain greenhouse crops. Currently, Futureco Bioscience is expanding the uses of NoFly to other pests (thrips) and in the open field. In addition, we are working on the registration of an oily dispersion formulation that is more stable, more penetrating, and easy to apply.

The spores of the entomopathogenic fungus Paecilomyces fumosoroseus strain FE9901 are the active ingredient of NoFly. Since its initial registration, P. fumosoroseus has changed its name to Isaria fumosorosea and later to Cordyceps fumosorosea (Kepler et al., 2017). The genus Cordyceps now includes many species of the genera Isaria and Cordyceps (and others) that were previously considered distant, so this reclassification has fueled concern about the possibility that NoFly may produce metabolites that are dangerous to health or the environment. At the time, it was shown that NoFly did not produce them, but the new molecular techniques allow us to go further and also know if it could produce them in case the optimal conditions were given for it.

At Futureco Bioscience we have decided to sequence the C. fumosorosea FE9901 genome in order to reinforce that it is not threatening and to confirm that it cannot be. This will confirm that NoFly is a safe product not only under current conditions of use but also under any other circumstances.

The sequencing of the genome of a fungus is substantially more complicated than that of a bacterium: the size of the genome is approximately five times larger, it is divided into several chromosomes, includes repetitive sequences, and genes have introns (non-coding sequences within genes). All these (and other) factors make it challenging to assemble the sequences obtained into complete chromosomes. This is why we have chosen to use our MinION since Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) long-read technology allows very long sequences to be obtained that facilitate assembly at the cost of a higher error rate than on other platforms.

Let's imagine that the genome sequence is a puzzle: With the same image, it is easier to assemble a puzzle of  five large pieces than one of 5000 small ones, even if the resolution of the image is worse in the 5-piece puzzle. With this sequencing, we intend to have a first draft of the genome of C. fumosorosea FE9901. From this sequence, we will begin to search for genes of the synthesis of risk metabolites. In the near future, this first draft will be enriched by using other sequencing platforms to correct possible punctual sequencing errors (i.e. to give more resolution to the image of the 5-piece puzzle).

¡Follow the updates and results on our Twitter account!

Kepler et al. (2017)

NoFly video here

 

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