EcoScience Corp. on Tuesday said it has signed a CooperativeResearch and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S.Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service todevelop technologies to control post-harvest diseases of treefruit. No money is involved in the CRADA, the company said..

The company's strategy is to develop naturally occurringorganisms to compete with blue and gray molds that attackfruit damaged in post-harvest handling, said James Wylie,EcoScience's president and chief executive officer. TheWorcester, Mass., company's approach would be an alternativeto the chemical fungicides used to treat damaged fruit.EcoScience will initially target apples, pears and citrus fruits,Wylie said.

Rodney Roberts of the USDA-ARS Tree Fruit ResearchLaboratory in Wenatchee, Wash., will serve as principalinvestigator for the two-year CRADA. EcoScience also has atwo-year-old CRADA for the controlling post-harvest damage topome fruits with researchers at the USDA-ARS AppalachianFruit Station in Kearneysville, W.Va.

EcoScience plans to conduct collaborative field trials under bothof the agreements this fall, said David W. Miller, vice presidentof research and development.

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