A unique project within the Cotton CRC, the development of Sero-X was co-funded by Growth Agriculture
Initially operated by the NSW Department of Primary Industry, in collaboration with other research organisations such as Southern Cross University, the Sero-X project has now been fully transitioned to commercial partner, Innovate Ag (a joint venture of Growth Agriculture) and has progressed swiftly though registration processes. This will allow sales of product to Australian and international farmers in the next three to five years. Innovate Ag has secured a grant of up to $1.5 m from Commercialisation Australia which will cover %50 of the eligible development costs for the next 2 years. The grant, along with the continued support of local cotton growers, will assist them bring the product to fruition.
Based on an observation by a prominent cotton farmer, NSW DPI researcher Doctor Robert Mensah identified a plant on a collaborator’s farm noting the low abundance of insects on it. This led Doctor Mensah to speculate that the plant might contain compounds with repellent or insecticidal properties, and they might be extracted for use in managing cotton pests – a extract that became known as ‘Plant X’. Since then, it has been re-branded ‘Sero-X’ (who can tell us why?).
Research by I&I NSW (formerly the NSW DPI), a member of the Cotton Catchment Communities CRC (Cotton CRC) led by Dr Robert Mensah, identified a plant prevalent in Australia (codenamed Plant X), that had interesting pest behaviour modifying properties.
A semio-chemical was produced from the extracts of this plant that can deter pest feeding and egg lay as well as cause direct toxicity to a number of insect pests.
Experiments using fractionated extracts of Plant X were carried out from 2003 to 2007 in the field, mesh house and laboratory. Since 2007 field work on a fully formulated product has been carried out. Results are impressive and work has continued to develop this product for Agricultural producers to have an effective, organic tool in the fight against pest pressure.