FungiAlert – Chairman and Investor
FungiAlert have developed an award winning, cheap disposable pod, that alerts farmers to the presence of plant disease in the soil before infection occurs. This has the potential to increase crop yields, by dramatically reducing crop loss, and will guide spraying practices to help reduce pesticide applications. The FungiAlert device has applications in soft fruits, horticultural vegetables and ornamental plants and trees, amongst many others.
It is estimated that $2-7 bn is lost annually, per crop, worldwide, due to a soil-based pathogen called Phytophthora. Current detection methods for pathogens such as Phytophthora are slow and expensive, usually confirming the presence of the disease in the field after infection of the plant, being at this point too late for treatment.
FungiAlert allows for the early detection of soil and water borne plant pathogens, by detecting the infectious spores before they attack the crop. The device is simply inserted into the soil or water, and the user will be alerted to the presence of disease, allowing for remedial action to be taken at the correct time. FungiAlert will be the only early, in-field, detection device for plant disease in the market.
Kerry and Angela founded FungiAlert in 2015 while Post-Doctoral researchers at the Institute of Chemical Biology at Imperial College London. Both co-founders are experts in the field of crop sustainability and protection, where this idea stands. While completing their PhD at Imperial College London, they won three entrepreneurial competitions, securing funding for the initial development of the technology. FungiAlert are now based at Rothamsted Research Centre in Harpenden, the world’s longest running agricultural research centre.