Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
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Past Winner
2019 NSERC Synergy Awards for Innovation

Synergy Award for Innovation

Synergy Award for Innovation

Category: Colleges

Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Sylvar Technologies Inc.

Sustainable food production is critical for our future survival on this planet, and that means balancing humanityís needs with the health of our ecosystems. Chemical pesticides can be effective against crop-decimating pests, but their high costs, health hazards and environmental side effects mean we need a better long-term solution.

Deborah Henderson and her team at Kwantlen Polytechnic Universityís Institute for Sustainable Horticulture (ISH) collaborate with Sylvar Technologies Inc. (Sylvar) to provide the Canadian agricultural sector with natural, effective, sustainable pesticides. Henderson leads a diverse group of horticulturists, biologists, and chemists studying baculoviruses, pathogens that infect specific insects without harming humans, plants, or beneficial insects, like bees. These chemical-free alternatives give growers an effective way to combat pests without harming the surrounding ecosystem.

The ISH-Sylvar partnership has already commercialized Loopex FC, a biopesticide that targets larvae on cabbage and alfalfa crops. Not only do biopesticides like Loopex FC cost less to produce, their organic properties also make conditions safer for growers and consumers: workers can safely enter areas treated with biopesticides immediately after spraying, fresh produce can be harvested without delay, and treatments leave no residue. With research powering forward and two more products moving towards market, the partnership between Hendersonís lab and Sylvar is helping Canadian farmers grow into a green future.

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