Crioprotect; an organic biofortifier based on Nanotechnology and Antarctic bacteria that protect crops from frost damage

E. Galliany, D. Bravo, J. Perez-Donoso
Pewman Innovation,

Keywords: nanobiopolymers, crops frost-damage, Antarctic bacteria


Meteorological frosts are the climatic event that generates the most losses in agriculture worldwide. Moreover, its negative effects are becoming more important and unpredictable every day as a result of climate change. Many countries report millionaire losses due to frost, including USA, Chile, Spain, Turkey, Italy, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. Meteorological frosts are those where the air temperature is 0 °C or lower and are the climatic event that causes the most losses in agriculture worldwide, according to FAO. To date, various strategies are used to mitigate this impact, but none of them solves the problem, so farmers must make large investments and/or implement inefficient solutions to reduce losses caused by frost. Moreover, currently, there are few biological and organic alternatives to protect crops from frost, but none of them has allowed solving this problem. In this context, at Pewman Innovation we developed and patented an organic anti-frost biofortifier product based on Nanotechnology and Antarctic microorganisms, that protect crops from frost damage through three different action mechanisms, physical, biological, and systemic (patent application USPTO 63051414; PCT/CL2021/050061). Our anti-frost biofortifier contains nano and microparticles of a new biopolymer produced by a unique bacteria isolated from Antarctic plants that survive under freezing temperatures. The nanobiopolymer is an oligosaccharide biologically synthesized by Antarctic bacteria using waste from biodiesel production (raw glycerol) as a substrate. The nanobiopolymers act as thermal insulators protecting the plants from freeze damage. Also, the incorporation of nanobiopolymers inside the plant tissue favors the systemic response to cold temperatures. Interestingly, the nanobiopolymer is not used as an energy source for microorganisms, thus not affecting the normal microbiome of the plant. 16s DNA metagenome sequencing determined that the use of Crioprotect in avocado plants improves the structure of rhizosphere bacterial communities, thus favoring nutrient uptake and the systemic response of plants. Crioprotect can be applied by foliar feeding or irrigation, it comes in a water-soluble liquid format. Crioprotect is a preventive and palliative treatment against frost and can be applied before, during, and after frost. It can be applied to crops using tractors, hand-pumps, and drones. Following these recommendations, our field results in cherries, avocados, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, among others, determined a reduction in frost losses up to 80% depending on weather and crop characteristics. By using Crioprotect it is possible to make the sowing and harvesting calendar more flexible, allowing the farmer to sell his products out of season. In this sense, the use of Crioprotect makes it possible to sow during the winter season, thus allowing the use of rainwater for irrigation. Another potential advantage of Crioprotect is the possibility of sowing some cold-sensitive crop varieties in places where low temperatures prevail. Due to the simple mode of application and low production cost, it is very easy for the farmer to benefit from the use of Crioprotect, the only alternative on the market based on nanotechnology and Antarctic microorganisms with a triple mechanism of protection, 100 % organic, and produced by a circular economy process