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Insect midgut epithelial cell culture systems

Focus Area: Enabling Technologies

Cell cultures are used in many fields of biological research to look at cellular responses to external inputs. They can serve as a predictor of responses by the whole organisms from which they were derived.  In the field of entomology, several types of cell-based assays have been used successfully to characterize cellular responses1,2.  In many of the described cases, the cell-based assays utilized recombinant techniques within cell lines to recreate the physiological target of an input. Alternatively, cell lines derived from non-midgut tissue that happened to be naturally susceptible to an insecticidal protein were used.

Primary cell cultures tend to closely resemble the morphology and physiological state of the cells they were isolated from3.  Therefore, the response of primary insect cell cultures may better reflect that of the intact insect than reconstituted cell lines without requiring prior knowledge of a response mechanism. However, it is challenging to isolate and culture midgut epithelial cells continuously and to preserve their differentiation capability as, to date, very few proliferation and differentiation factors specific to insect midgut cells have been identified.

At Corteva Agriscience™, our goal is to develop effective, sustainable, and durable solutions to agricultural challenges. We are looking for cell culture systems that combine the ease of use and reproducibility of cell lines with the preserved physiological status of primary cell culture.  We invite public and private sector scientists to join in our efforts by submitting a research proposal to develop insect midgut epithelial cell culture systems.


1 Soberón, M., Portugal, L., Garcia-Gómez, B.I., Sanchez, J., Onofre, J., Gomez, I., Pacheco, S., Bravo, A., 2018. Cell lines as models for the study of Cry toxins from Bacillus thuringiensis. Insect biochemistry and molecular biology 93:66-78.

2 Smagghe, G., Goodman, C.L. and Stanley, D., 2009. Insect cell culture and applications to research and pest management. In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology-Animal 45:93-105.

3 Mandrioli, M., Monti, M., and Tedeschi, R., 2015.  A practical guide to insect cell cultures: establishment and maintenance of primary cell cultures. Halteres 6:132-141.

Who Should Apply

Scientists in the public and private sector

Amount Awarded

(up to $50,000 including a maximum of 10% indirect costs)

Submission Date

September 15, 2019

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Challenges are being managed by InnoCentive.

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Natural Products or Natural Product-Derived Small Molecules

Focus Area: Crop Protection

The discovery of novel modes of action for use in crop protection remains an ongoing challenge for multiple reasons, including the increasing demand for higher protein diets, evolution of resistance to existing solutions, and a desire to continually improve the safety and toxicological profiles of crop protection chemicals.  Because bacteria, plants, insects and fungi are in a continual evolutionary and ecological battle in the environment, each species develops its own methods for survival.  Some of these tools include the production of small molecules that are generated for a very specific purpose.  As farmers seek to find new crop protection solutions to reduce fungal, insect and weed impact on crop yields, there is an opportunity to explore the use of these small molecules developed by nature to improve agriculture.

As the leader in Natural Products Discovery, Corteva AgriscienceTM has historically discovered and developed a number of natural products and semi-synthetic natural products for pest control.  However, this discovery process of molecules with novel modes of action is an ongoing challenge in the agricultural industry, and as such we are seeking input from the broader scientific community to gain access to more chemical space; in particular the biologically relevant space that natural products are known to occupy.

At Corteva our goal is to develop effective, sustainable, and durable solutions to agricultural challenges. We are seeking pure natural products and semi-synthetic natural products. Material supply of compounds which are natural products or natural product-derived small molecules is desired. Crude extracts and mixtures are not requested for this Challenge.

The Corteva Crowdsourcing Challenges are being managed in collaboration with InnoCentive. To participate in this challenge, you will be leaving the Corteva Open Innovation website.

Submissions will be accepted until 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on August 13, 2019.

Who Should Apply

Individuals with a material supply of or ability to isolate pure natural products

Amount Awarded

Visit the InnoCentive challenge site for details

Submission Date

August 13, 2019

Apply at InnoCentive

Past Opportunities


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