Effective Delivery of Bioactive Compounds to Plant Cells

$15,000 USD

Challenge overview


Bioactive compounds (BACs) hold a promise to dramatically improve the productivity of agricultural plants. But to fulfill this promise, BACs need to be delivered into the cytoplasm of a plant cell and sometimes even into certain organelles inside the cytoplasm.

But to be delivered into plant cells, BACs need to penetrate across the leaf surface and then the cell wall and cell membrane, the cell wall representing an especially difficult barrier to overcome. This Challenge, sponsored by Israel Chemicals Ltd (ICL), is looking for systems allowing effective delivery of high-molecular-weight BACs through the cell wall and cell membrane of plant cells.

This is an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solution.


Bioactive compounds (BACs) may have a profound stimulatory effect on plant growth. Because BACs are generally biodegradable and environmentally friendly molecules, and their effect is evident at very low doses, they can become a partial alternative to synthetic fertilizers and help significantly in reducing the amount of the latter.

However, to realize their full potential, BACs must be efficiently transported into the plant cells through three main barriers: the leaf surface (especially the cuticle), the cell wall, and the cell membrane. Although all three barriers represent a formidable obstacle to the BAC efficient penetration, it’s the cell membrane and, especially, the cell wall that needs to be taken into consideration first.

This Challenge, sponsored by Israel Chemicals Ltd (ICL), is looking for systems allowing effective delivery of high-molecular-weight BACs into the cytoplasm of plant cells by overcoming the barriers provided by the plant cell wall and cell membrane.

This is an Ideation Challenge, which has the following unique features:

  • There is a guaranteed award.  The award(s) will be paid to the best submission(s) as solely determined by the Seeker. The total payout will be $15,000, with at least one award being no smaller than $5,000 and no award being smaller than $2,500.
  • The Solvers are not required to transfer exclusive intellectual property rights to the Seeker.  Rather, by submitting a proposal, the Solver grants to the Seeker a royalty-free, perpetual, and non-exclusive license to use any information included in this proposal, including for promotional purposes.

Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (US Eastern Time) on December 15, 2022. 

Late submissions will not be considered.

After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regard to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified of the status of their submissions; however, no detailed evaluation of individual submissions will be provided.


This is an external Challenge only. Employees of the ICL Group and its subsidiaries are ineligible to receive awards for this Challenge.


ICL, a global manufacturer of products based on unique minerals, fulfills humanity’s essential needs, primarily in three markets: agriculture, food, and engineered materials.

The experience, knowledge, and professionalism derived from establishing Israel’s potash industry over a period of 80 years of intensive activity and major investment in R&D, have transformed ICL into a world leader in specialty fertilizers, bromine, and flame retardants. ICL produces approximately a third of the world’s bromine and is the world’s sixth-largest potash producer, as well as one of its leading providers of pure phosphoric acid.

ICL’s operations are global and are supported by worldwide distribution and supply chains. Our mining and production sites are located in Israel, Europe, North and South America, and China. ICL employs about 13,000 people worldwide.

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