WINNIPEG, MANITOBA -- Kane Biotech Inc., a biotechnology company engaged in the development of products that prevent and disperse microbial biofilms, announces the invention of biotech plants producing DispersinB(R) antibiofilm enzyme. This provides a proof of concept for developing bacterial disease resistant agricultural crops of economic importance.

"Just like humans and animals, plants must constantly fight against bacterial infections, which account for billions of dollars of losses in crop yields and quality annually. The genetic engineering of plants will help defend against these pathogens and have a large impact on agricultural productivity. In 2009, 14 million farmers in 25 countries grew biotech crops on 134 million hectares generating $10.5 billion in seed/licensing revenues," said Gord Froehlich, president and CEO of Kane Biotech.

The prevention of agricultural crop diseases such as 'soft rot' and 'bacterial wilt' is made possible by preventing the biofilm formation of bacterial pathogens Erwinia carotovora and Ralstonia solanacearum, respectively. DispersinB(R)-expressing plants are resistant to plant pathogens due to their ability to inhibit and disrupt biofilms. Additionally, this biotech plant can also be used as a bioreactor for commercial scale production of DispersinB(R) enzyme; an alternative to the fermentation process currently used to produce DispersinB(R).

"DispersinB(R)-expressing plants produced substantial amounts of the biologically active enzyme and showed inhibitory as well as dispersal activity against Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilm," said Jeffrey B. Kaplan, associate professor, department of oral microbiology, at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. "Furthermore, these plants showed resistance to E. carotovora, which causes 'soft rot' disease in staple food crops such as potatoes and cassava, and they should also be resistant to 'bacterial wilt' disease caused by R. solanacearum."

"This new discovery has applications in preventing major bacterial diseases in crops that involve biofilms -- which can be up to 1,000 times more resistant to antimicrobials than their planktonic counterparts -- and has the potential to substantially reduce the agricultural losses in crops such as potatoes, tomatoes and cassava worldwide," Froehlich said.

SOURCE: Kane Biotech Inc.