Capsules for Controlled Release of Plant Pathogens, Fertilizers, and Micro Organisms

Nussinovitch Amos, HUJI, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition
Chet Ilan, HUJI, Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences, Plant Pathology and Microbiology

Dried cellular hydrocolloid carriers for biological control of pathogens


Agriculture, Pest Control / Herbicides, Biological Pest Control, Carriers

Development Stage

Research completed

Patent Status

Granted US Patent 7,422,737




  • There is a need for a method to protect live biological control agents that have been deposited on the ground or sprayed on plants against UV radiation
  • Viable micro organisms are entrapped in dried solid hydrocolloid carriers
  • The hydrocolloid beads are porous, allowing release of products derived from micro organisms to control plant pathogens or of the micro organisms themselves
  • Enables effective, sustained release in field conditions of biological control agents against plant pathogens, fertilizers, micro organisms for nitrogen fixation or increased growth response

Our Innovation

Gel beads are freeze-dried to produce and enhance a porous structure. The result is a low-density dried cellular product composed of many fused open and closed cells. Exposure to moisture allows the controlled release or extended release of the micro organisms and other substrates, substances and/or products that are contained within the carrier from the matrix.

Key Features

  • The dried beads preserve the viability of bacteria or fungi which act against, or produce substances which act against, plant pathogens.
  • The hydrocolloidal structure protects the micro organisms from UV radiation.
  • Endows the product with extended shelf-life
  • Development Milestones
  • Further research will be focus on adaptation for additional micro organisms and biotechnological applications, such as continuous fermentation

The Opportunity

  • Biological pesticides accounted for 3% of the $33.7 billion global plants protection market in 2000. It is estimated that the global plants protection market will grow to $63.6 billion after 2013 and biological pesticides will grow from $1 billion to $5 billion, 8% of the market.


SEM of typical freeze-dried alginate bead walls.
Panel A: Control (dry bead without bacteria).
Panel B: Dry bead.
Panel C: Dry bead with glycerol.
Panel D: Dry bead with bentonite and glycerol.
Panel E: Dry bead with chitin and glycerol.
Panel F: Dry bead with kaolin and glycerol.

Patent Status

Granted US 7,422,737

Contact for more information:

Ilya Pittel
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