Toxicity studies have shown that the KP4 proteins are safe for humans and animals to consume. Smith and Shah will continue to explore KP4 and other antifungal proteins ability to control other pathogenic fungi.
“Applying our control method could significantly reduce annual losses caused by corn smut and other fungi,” says Smith. Plants often require a number of genes to only partially protect the plant from a particular fungal infection, making it difficult to use traditional breeding methods to develop resistant lines. Here we have shown that a single gene that can lend extremely robust protection, giving us hope that there are other similar and effective solutions to be found in nature.”