This three-party project aims at developing a new formulation of a biocompatible formulation with potent antimicrobial and antifungal activity while also being able to prevent the buildup of tacky resins on agricultural tools. One of the ways plant pathogens transfer from one plant to another is by "hitchhiking" on tools used by agricultural workers. If tools can be easily cleaned between uses, this would greatly reduce risk and also extend the lifetime of the tools and decrease downtime needed for conventional cleaning protocols. Unfortunately, most potent fungicides are highly toxic and can't be used in certain parts of the agricultural industry like cannabis cultivation. This is a challenge faced by all cannabis companies, and Mera Cannabis, based in St. Thomas Ontario, is working with the Trant Lab at the University of Windsor to address this problem prophylactically. The Trant lab has been innovating alcohol-free hand sanitizers with potent antiviral and antibacterial activity with commercialization partner, Windsor-based, Prodigie - Innovation Evolved. These products do not, however, have the physical properties needed for this application. The research team specializes in formulating nanoemulsions and studying the stability and mechanical properties of the materials. In this one year project, the partners are working together to develop a formulation that meets the needs of the industry while being a viable commercialization product, and based on a sound scientific footing.
This one-year project, jointly supported by NSERC and the Ontario Centre of Innovation along with both industrial partners consequently aims not only to solve a challenge facing the greenhouse industry in Canada, but also to create a new designed and made in Canada product that will be ready for the export market, as it would be the first product of its type. The project is led by medicinal chemist John Trant, and his team that includes scientists specializing in product formulation, and antifungal and antimicrobial activity. Coupled with Mera's science-first approach to cultivation, and Prodigie's expertise in innovative product commercialization, the three partners are well positioned to deliver an innovative new material.