The need of improved quality and efficacy fuel the application of bio-based products
−− Overview of biological products launched/promoted in China’s agricultural market in recent three years
Feb. 18, 2021
The application of biological plant protection and nutrition products is a new trend in global agricultural development, and China is no exception. In fact, China has a long history of applying bio-based products during agricultural production. Since 2010, after nearly ten years of market promotion and cultivation, new international concepts, such as biological control and biostimulants, have been widely adopted by local farmers, and the application of such products has indeed shown good results, helping farmers obtain higher economic returns. There is also increasing demand for safe, healthy and quality food. Therefore, more and more industrial crop and fruit growers have included bio-based products in their plant protection toolbox. These factors drive the entire biological market, advancing it more vigorously.
Table 1 shows the typical bio-based products launched or promoted in the Chinese market in last three years (incomplete statistics). AgroPages divided these products according to their respective grade category and function into biopesticides, plant growth regulators, biostimulants and soil conditioners, including some functional fertilizer products, totaling 25 kinds (series). Below, we will analyze the current situation of China’s biological plant protection and nutrition market in terms of company (manufacturer), ingredients and product efficacy.
Table 1. Typical Bio-based Products Introduced/Promoted on Chinese Market in Recent Three Years
0.5% amino oligosaccharide AS
Root-knot nematode of cucumber and kiwifruit
Chengdu New Chaoyang Crop Science Co., Ltd.
1% fungous proteoglycan AS
Tomato virus; Tobacco mosaic virus
Beijing Multigrass Formulation Co., Ltd.
1% amino oligosaccharide AS
Cucumber root-knot nematode
Qiaochang Agricultural Group Co., Ltd.
Biological polysaccharide adjuvant
Koppert (Golden Farm)
Bacillus subtilis QST713 WP
Fungal and bacterial diseases of many crops
0.5% berberine AS
Chengdu New Chaoyang Crop Science Co., Ltd.
94% mineral oil EC
Red spider of citrus trees
Plant growth regulators
0.135% gibberellic acid; 0.00052% indole acetic acid; 0.00031% 14-hydroxylated brassinosteroid WP
Promotes rooting and germination, enhances crop stress resistance, increases crop yield and improves fruit quality
Pilarquim (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.
Iron chlorine e6
Inhibits chlorophyll degradation, improves photosynthetic efficiency, promotes crop growth, increases crop biological yield, and enhances the cold, salt and alkali resistance and other stress tolerances of crops
0.00052% indoleacetic acid, 0.135% gibberellic acid, 0.00031% 14- hydroxylated brassinosteroid
Breaks seed dormancy, promotes rooting and germination, increases crop yield and improves fruit quality
Pilarquim (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.
Xiuwei -Yunqiao (秀威®芸俏)
Seaweed oligosaccharide ≥ 200g/L
Ca+Mg≥150 g/L AS
Improves low temperature resistance of cabbage
Sinochem Crop Care
Caifu combination (彩富组合)
Amino acids chelate microelements
Mancozeb 56% + difenoconazole 8% WP
Prevents diseases, increases yields, resists stress and promotes growth
Lier Crop Science Co., Ltd.
Plant extract ≥220 g/L
Enhances, nourishes and stimulates crop potential, and improves crop yield and quality
Plant growth precursor 115 g/L
Ca 110 g/L
B 11 g/L
Improves frost resistance of plants
Free L-amino acid ≥100g/L
Improves nitrogen utilization efficiency, promotes the growth and development of grains, counters abiotic stress
Resists stress, promotes plant growth, improves quality and increases yields
Seaweed polysaccharide pesticide enhancer
Increases pesticide efficacy, comprehensive nutrition, and synergic pesticide and fertilizer
Soil conditioners (fertilizers)
N-Energy-X6, K-Energy-X6, Woojar (一品旺®、一品壮®、优品健®)
Microbial fermentation of water-soluble organic carbon, biostimulant water-based nutrition N/P/K, stress-resistant microbial strains, secondary and micro elements and minerals
Soil fertilizer, with soil aggregate structure-oriented remediation technique
Chengdu New Chaoyang Crop Science Co., Ltd.
Golden Farm fertilizer containing silicon, calcium, magnesium and potassium
Secondary elements (silicon, calcium and magnesium), microelement (potassium) and various microelements
Conditions the soil state to reduce red moss and green moss, decreases the physiological fruit drop rate and cracking rate, and improves the hardness and glossiness of crops
Vidi Funda (培元®)
Botanical protein, fiber, and various natural ionic nutritional elements
Resists continuous cropping, feeds beneficial bacteria and improves fertilizer absorption rate
Koppert (Golden Farm)
Sega Yibao (世佳伊宝®)
Promotes rooting, strengthens seedlings, resists soil-borne diseases and nematode infection, resists stress and drought, increases yields and improves crop quality
Zhejiang Sega Science and Technology Co., Ltd.
Bacillus amyloliquefaciens and Paenibacillus polymyxa
Promotes growth, resists continuous cropping and prevents diseases
Biogas slurry-based fertilizer
An organic water-soluble fertilizer, which can activate soil, promote rooting, prevent diseases, stimulate crop potential, improve quality and increase yields
Zhenge Xianfei (真格线肥®)
Tea saponin, Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, supplemented with peanut cake, rapeseed cake, seaweed extract, etc.
Guangdong Zhenge Biotechnology Co., Ltd.
Organic chelated microelements
Can help realize the potential of crops, enhance cold and disease resistance, and improve the quality of fruits
Biopesticides - biological polysaccharides play leading role
Compared with chemical pesticides, biopesticides, though working slowly, are more selective, safer and environmentally friendly without developing resistance after long-term use, and their final control effect can meet the required standards. Overall, biopesticides are used generally to complement chemical control measures. In October 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China has registered 4,564 biopesticide products, accounting for 10.95% of total pesticide registrations. These registered products are mainly agricultural antibiotics and biochemical pesticides. However, it can be seen that some new ingredients are becoming popular from the table showing the biopesticide products launched in the Chinese market since 2018.
Four companies have launched four biopolysaccharide products in total, and two of them are amino oligosaccharides, which are natural polysaccharide products extracted from the shells of marine organisms, such as shrimps and crabs, obtained by degrading chitosan made through the degradation of chitin or a low-toxicity bactericide extracted by microbial fermentation. They can stimulate the immune response of plants to gain systemic resistance, including stress resistance, as well as achieve stress resistance, pest resistance and yield increase.
Genhu is a nematicide introduced by Chengdu New Chaoyang Crop Science Co., Ltd., and is also the first biological root-knot nematode control mixture released in China. The product contains 0.5% amino oligosaccharide and is registered for controlling root-knot nematodes in cucumber and kiwifruit. Qiaonongbao is a 1% amino oligosaccharide AS introduced by Qiaochang Agricultural Group Co., Ltd., and is also registered for controlling cucumber nematodes. According to the package insert, biological ingredients such as plant extracts, marine biological extracts, soil conditioners and vegetable oils, are also combined with Qiaonongbao. The nematicidal efficacy of amino oligosaccharide is now equivalent or superior to chemical nematicides available in the market.
Fungous Proteoglycan, a product of Beijing Multigrass Formulation Co., Ltd., is another biological polysaccharide ingredient that prevents and treats diseases caused by plant viruses. The product can destroy the protein coat of viruses and damage their DNA structure, and can block the intercellular transmission channel of viruses (plasmodesmata), thereby preventing viral diseases from spreading between cells and ensuring disease prevention. Fungous Proteoglycan can also improve the disease resistance of plants and is applicable to a variety of crops.
Bacillus subtilis is a mainstream category of biopesticides. It also has a wide range of uses and excellent control effects on powdery mildew and gray mold affecting many industrial crops, as well as rice blast and potato late blight. Serenade, launched by Bayer, a multinational company, utilizes Bacillus subtilis strain QST713 as its active ingredient and is registered for controlling various fungal and bacterial diseases affecting crops. Serenade is also the first biopesticide launched by Bayer in the Chinese market and can secrete active substances to promote crop growth, with the remarkable effect of increasing yield and improving quality.
In terms of control objects, as biological pesticides need much less development time than chemical ones, some niche applications that are not the focus of agrochemical companies but have become the target market of biopesticides. Taimei, a new product introduced by Chengdu New Chaoyang Crop Science Co., Ltd. in 2020 containing 0.5% berberine, is the only fungicide that works effectively against both fungi and bacteria among current botanical pesticides, and is suitable for the comprehensive disinfection and sterilization of fruit trees and other crops. Taimei is also the first product derived from patented botanical pesticide technology for controlling moss in China. The company plans to extend its application to moss, and if it is successfully registered, Taimei will become the first pesticide registered specifically for this purpose.
Biostimulants: The “Blue Ocean” for companies at home and abroad
Biostimulants have been used in agriculture for a long period of time, dating back to over 60 years in China. There has been no definite classification for such products, despite their efficacy being recognized by growers.
After the “First World Congress on the Use of Biostimulants in Agriculture” was held in Strasbourg, France, in 2012, many companies from around the world began to formally use this product classification to promote some of their products. This new concept has boosted the rapid development of some companies, while major companies have continuously acquired and invested in this area.
The biostimulant concept was also introduced from overseas during the same period into China’s plant protection and nutrition market. Subject to the guidance of several leading overseas companies and gradual market cultivation, an increasing number of growers, especially high-value industrial crop growers, began to use biostimulants on a large scale. Although the definition and management regulations of biostimulants in China need to be further improved, it has not hindered the popular demand for such products, and many domestic companies are offering them in this “Blue Ocean.”
In terms of ingredients, the biostimulant products, which were launched in the market in recent years, are mainly based on amino acids and saccharides derived from seaweed, but there are also products with plant functional extracts and amino acids chelated microelements. The products launched by multinational companies are generally traditional ones that have been proven effective in other parts of the world for many years. Some Chinese companies only introduced biological products to complete their chemical product portfolio, while others dedicate themselves to biostimulants, such as Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co., Ltd., which rely on seaweed resources.
SCL Italia S.p.A. (SCL), with a history of more than 200 years, is a leading company focusing on biostimulants and specialist fertilizers. In September 2019, SCL introduced EnNuVi®, a globally patented product that has won the EU’s LIFE Award in China. EnNuVi® is a complex of polyphenols and copper. Polyphenols are very active natural carbon sources that can improve the stress resistance of plants and activate their systemic acquired resistance (SAR). When complexed and enhanced with copper element, they can also be used as fungicides, which is why EnNuVi® is different from similar products.
Agritecno Fertilizantes, S.L., a member of the European Biostimulants Industry Council (EBIC) representing Spain, has also been deeply involved in this area for many years. In March 2020, Agritecno’s biostimulant, Fuliang, was launched in China. The functional ingredients of this product are free L-amino acid and various mineral elements, and it has been used in other countries around the world for over 17 years before entering the Chinese market. Different from other biostimulants, the target of Fuliang is field crops. This product can effectively improve nitrogen utilization rate, promote grain formation, help field crops resist adverse environmental stress, and increase yields by more than 15%.
Seawin Biotech, Harworld and Sinochem Crop Care have all launched seaweed-derived products. Seawin Biotech is a typical company focusing on seaweed biostimulant products in China, and offers strong advantages in terms of green algae and brown algae resources. Its “seaweed polysaccharide” pesticide enhancer is the first biological stimulant with dual algae sources released in China, contains highly active dual algae ingredients and has a special molecular structure offering a safe combination, increased efficacy and comprehensive nutrition with synergic pesticides and fertilizers. Its effective ingredients and performance indicators are world-class.
Soil conditioners: More applications of beneficial bacteria for the soil
China has a vast area of native saline soil covering around 98.7 million hectares, accounting for over 10% of the country’s total farmland. The worsening salinization and acidification of the soil in East China and alkalization of farmland in West China have led to soil degradation typically represented by soil organic matter loss and soil structure destruction. In recent years, soil improvement has been increasing, underlined by the government, creating unprecedented opportunities for new materials and improved products with higher safety, efficacy and usability. It is predicted that the potential value of China’s soil conditioner market can reach RMB50 billion.
In recent years, soil conditioning products launched in China by domestic and foreign companies are mainly microelement chelate products. Overseas companies, including Koppert of the Netherlands and Omnia of Australia, have introduced new nutrition and microelement products through their partners in China, most notably new products containing beneficial soil bacteria introduced by some domestic companies.
Chengdu Newsun Crop Science Co., Ltd., a domestic company focusing on botanical products, has been continuing its sound advancement in recent years. In 2017, the company launched a package of soil conditioning products consisting of N-Energy-X6, K-Energy-X6 and Woojar. This series of products covers the maintenance of the soil environment to the management of soil nutrition and health, while containing more than 60 types of organic nutrients and acid and stress-resistant microbial strains that are beneficial to the health of the soil environment. They can also protect the whole growth cycle of plants, through improving rooting, nutrient absorption, plant growth and, subsequently, fruit quality.
Zhejiang Sega Science and Technology Co., Ltd. shifted from manufacturing traditional pesticides to plant nutrients and green pesticides several years ago. In 2019, Sega launched a soil conditioner, Sega Yibao, which immediately became a highlight of the market. The active ingredient of this product is arbuscular mycorrhiza, a beneficial fungus derived from nature that can improve the ecology of soil flora, promote rooting, strengthen seedlings and prevent desertification. Therefore, the product is widely used in Northwest China, and inhibits and repels pathogenic bacteria, while resisting stress and drought, increasing yields and improving quality.
The industry has noticeable need for quality and efficacy improvement, overseas companies are accelerating the launch of new products in China
In recent years, with the transformation and upgrading of China’s agricultural inputs industry and the phasing-out of backward production facilities, the industry has achieved noticeable quality and efficiency improvements. Improving the application efficiency of agricultural inputs has become a guiding rule of the whole industry for new product development.
However, there are still some problems with bio-based agricultural inputs in China, such as inadequate investment in development, the slow introduction of new products, relatively obsolete technologies, a small number of formulation types, and out-of-date application technologies, which have limited the further development of the market.
Eva Hoo, General Manager of AgroPages and Liu Jian, Chairman of CBDA signed a strategic
At the same time, China’s agricultural market is eager to embrace excellent bio-based products from companies from other countries, to introduce outstanding ideas and products to the Chinese market. AgroPages, as a bridge and platform linking Chinese and foreign agricultural industries, signed a strategic cooperation agreement with the China Biostimulants Development Alliance (CBDA) in Hangzhou in December 2020. Both parties will utilize their respective advantages to introduce more excellent products and technologies from around the world, to jointly serve the planting needs of China and help outstanding domestic biostimulant companies to “go global.”
If you wish to develop the Chinese market for your bio-based products, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to assist you.
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