Cal Poly Professor Jennifer Ryder Fox, head of the university's Horticulture and Crop Science Department, has received The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Fox received the award along with three other colleagues for her work in discovering and bringing to market a biofungicide. The fungicide uses naturally occurring bacteria to combat mildew that affects crops. It's been approved for use in crops including blueberries, bananas, cherries, grapes, green beans, hops, mint, peanuts, peppers, pome fruit, tomatoes, walnuts and leafy vegetables. The natural fungicide, named Serenade, is harmless to beneficial insects and can be used in both organic and traditional farming.

Fox helped develop Serenade during her years with AgraQuest Inc. in Davis, Calif., prior to joining the Cal Poly faculty in 2002. She received the EPA's Presidential Green Chemistry Award in a June 23 ceremony at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C.

For more information on the awards, visit the EPA's Green Chemistry Web site at www.epa.gov/greenchemistry.