Posted by: Mahdi Ebrahimi | April 20, 2008

Taiwan develops bactericide made of plant extracts

The new products have 99.9 percent germicidal effectiveness, no negative effects on humans and no reported drug resistance in bacteria

The Council of Agriculture (COA) has developed organic bactericides made of natural plant extracts, with germicidal effectiveness reaching 99.9 percent, no reported drug resistance in bacteria and no negative effects on humans, an agriculture official said yesterday.

Director-general of the council’s Taiwan Seed Improvement and Propagation Station in Tai-chung County, Chen Kuo-hsiung, said the center has applied for patent rights for the development to facilitate future technology transfers to the private sector.


The complex organic bactericides were developed after years of research and contain many plant extracts with secondary metabolites, which are organic compounds indirectly generated from normal growth, development or reproduction of organisms.

These compounds, such as alkaloids, glycosides, phenols, sterols and essential oils, are used by plants as defenses against predators, parasites and diseases, Chen said.

The organic bactericides are effective in combating more than 10 types of fungus and bacteria, such as rice blast fungus, bacillus cereus and colon bacillus, the latter of which is used as an indicator in evaluating food sanitation.

Taiwan’s humidity and high temperatures mean crops are often invaded by bacteria or fungus, both of which also exist in water, air and food, causing environmental pollution and health risks, Chen said.

Farmers tend to use chemical ingredients or antibiotics to protect their crops, but the high frequency and intensive use of these have caused bacteria and fungi to develop resistance.


The development of the organic bactericides is part of the COA’s measures to meet its projected goal of reducing the use of chemical germicides by half by 2015.

Chen said the organic bactericides are qualified for use as environmental sanitation ingredients for sterilizing public facilities such as hospitals and schools, as organic biopesticides to support organic agriculture and as alternative medicine.

The center has the world’s leading technology in making the organic bactericides.

After acquiring patent rights, the center will transfer the expertise to industry in the hope of developing more antibacterial products such as pesticides, soaps, detergents and paper towels, Chen said.



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