Grant funding will boost Kimbolton firm’s pioneering research

Nelson Nazareth, managing director of BG Research.

Nelson Nazareth, managing director of BG Research. - Credit: Archant

Pioneering plans to improve the global detection of viruses in the animal and plant world have been given the green light thanks to a £60,000 grant.

BG Research Ltd, based in Kimbolton, has won the support of the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative to help create a research project which, it believes, could assist in the global efforts to put an end to the mass outbreak of diseases such as foot and mouth and bluetongue.

BG Research Ltd’s managing director, Nelson Nazareth, said the grant would enable them to develop cutting-edge technology.

Mr Nazareth said: “The funds will go towards developing new systems for the rapid detection of viruses for farmers and the veterinary world. For the likes of foot and mouth and blue tongue in cattle, it could provide maximum agronomic benefit to the UK.

“We have existing collaborations with sector relevant laboratories and we have created an experimental model based around a plant fungal pathogen verticillium. Working with the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), the system will look to extend the model to foot and mouth, the blue tongue virus and others.

“Verticillium can cause yield losses of up to 80 per cent in oil seed rape and currently is estimated to cost the UK in excess of £10million annually.

“Foot and mouth and blue tongue can infect both sheep and cattle and the 2001 outbreak cost the UK in excess of £5 billion. So, a rapid in-field diagnostic for these diseases would be a powerful tool in the control of transmission in an outbreak situation.”

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The company hopes to see the first set of results within a year.

Mark Reeve, chairman of the Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative and the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP, said: “We are pleased to be supporting BG Research Ltd in this innovative research project which could prove hugely valuable to the farming world.

“Supporting the progression of cutting-edge research and development is a key priority for our LEP, and we look forward to seeing how the work progresses.”

The Eastern Agri-Tech Growth Initiative is run by the LEP with support from Norfolk County Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, and the local authorities.

Grants are available to organisations looking to invest in specialist equipment, new market and supply chain development, ways to improve productivity and efficiency, and research and development.

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