The Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), a leader in plant science research, has announced that Ascribe Bioscience, a company founded on BTI technology, has partnered with Nutrien Ag Solutions to commercialize two crop protection products containing Ascribe’s flagship biofungicide Phytalix®.


Phytalix was developed from discoveries made at BTI and represents a significant advance in biological crop protection. The product is based on natural molecules from the soil microbiome that prime immune responses in plants, enabling them to effectively combat a broad range of pathogens.

A joint development and supply agreement between Ascribe and Nutrien provides for the launch of Phytalix blends under Nutrien’s Loveland Products brand for use on US row crops such as corn, wheat, and soybeans. 

Biological crop protection

“This discovery has profound implications for agriculture. Phytalix is one of the first biological crop protection products with the efficacy and ease of use demanded by large-scale growers. Unlike traditional chemical fungicides that directly target pathogens, Phytalix works by enhancing plants’ own defenses. This will enable growers to protect their crops and increase yields without harming beneficial soil organisms or the environment,” explains Ascribe CEO Jay Farmer. 

Four years of field trials have demonstrated that Phytalix can match or even surpass the efficacy of traditional synthetic fungicides. The product has shown effective control of major agricultural pathogens like Corn Leaf Blight, Asian Soybean Rust, and Fusarium Head Blight in wheat. The company says the results are not just a boon for crop health but also for environmental sustainability, offering a path towards reduced reliance on synthetic chemicals in agriculture and providing a critically needed tool to combat the increasing resistance of pathogens to existing fungicides.

“BTI is thrilled to witness the transition of our scientific research into a practical solution that addresses some of the most pressing challenges in modern agriculture,” says BTI President Dr. Silvia Restrepo. “The potential of Phytalix to transform crop protection while maintaining environmental integrity aligns perfectly with BTI’s mission to advance the understanding of plant biology for the benefit of humanity.”