Naturally‑derived alkaloid from from Guizhou University has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties that protect fruit from spoiling.


  • Increased yield
  • Reduced infections


  • Agriculture
  • Food processing
  • Consumer goods

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 2: Zero Hunger

  • Goal 12: Responsible Production & Consumption


  • Russian olive tree

The Challenge

Agricultural crops are vulnerable to infection from bacteria, viruses, and fungi. When crops are infected, there can be a significant loss of yield and quality. If this happens, the entire supply chain suffers: farmers lose profits and consumers lose access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Although some compounds have been developed, very few of them work on a wide variety of crops, and an increasing number of bacteria are developing resistance.

Innovation Details

The alkaloid, also called eleagnine, is naturally produced by Russian olive trees and has antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties that effectively protect crops from infection, such as rice, kiwi and citrus plants. It can also be used to treat an infection that is already occurring. It works by increasing the levels of reactive oxygen species in the bacteria, which kills the cells.

Biomimicry Story

Russian olive trees contain tetrahydro-β-carboline (THC) alkaloids which are known to protect the tree from external elements. The alkaloid has antitumor, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antioxidant and antiviral properties.