To the root of the problem: preventing excess copper waste and remediation, by targeted treatment of downy mildew in grape crops
Grapes are an important Canadian crop. Canadian winemaking industries rely on grape growers. However, grape crops are threatened by a mould that causes downy mildew. This disease spreads onto grape leaves and if left untreated can kill much of the plant. The grape fruit becomes covered in a dense carpet of mould tissue, and the crop is spoiled and lost. Not just a Canadian problem, downy mildew has become an agricultural concern for vineyards world-wide. Global warming is expected to make the incidence and impact of downy mildew worse. A good treatment is copper sulfate, which is sprayed onto grape plants early in the season to suppress downy mildew growth. However, copper is a toxic element that accumulates in the environment and may impact both the vineyard ecosystem and connected environments. CleanForm Science CA is a Canadian company that wants to reduce the impact of downy mildew, preventing loss of crops, and protecting economic investments. The Sabatinos lab at Ryerson University partners with CleanForm Science CA to develop a new testing kit for downy mildew that will help target new treatments.