Conception of “Biorational Products”
Recently, Sumitomo Chemical announced its annual report of fiscal year 2015. Sales of Sumitomo Chemical’s Health & Crop Sciences division rose by 3.9% compared with the previous fiscal year. The increased income was mainly because sales of agriculture chemicals, biorational crop protection products and methionine rose as expected. The company said, “Biorational products is one of the focuses of Sumitomo’s ‘Accelerate the Launch of Next-Generation Businesses’ plan, the main focused sectors of biorationals business in future are microbial pesticides (core products: DiPel®, XenTari®), plant growth regulators (ProGibb®, Promalin®, ReTain®, ProTone®) and microbial agricultural materials (mycorrhizal fungi).” Meanwhile, Sumitomo Chemical is working to develop crop stress management products which have the effect of boosting crop yields by increasing plant resistance to environmental stress from low and high temperatures and drought, in addition to existing crop protection products which are effective against disease and insect stress.
After this news was released on AgroPages.com, some readers contacted us and asking the following question, “What are biorational products?”, “Are there any difference between biorational products and biopesticides?” et al. Here, we did a preliminary investigation:
According to the definition from American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), the term “Biorational” used to characterize a broad range of low environmental impact substance or products that are typically biologically-derived or, if synthetic, structurally similar and functionally identical to a biologically occurring material with minor differences between the respective stereochemical isomer ratios derived from biological or synthetic origins. “Biorational” include biopesticides as well as nonpesticide products such as, but not limited to, those used for crop stress management, enhanced plant physiology benefits, root growth management, postharvest treatments or as an alternative to pesticides.
Currently, biorational products are widely used in agriculture, public health, forestry, aquaculture, turf, structural pest control, and home and garden markets. However, many people still mix up “Biorational products” and “Biopesticide”. Based on the definition from ASTM, it is very clear that the scope of “Biorational products” is much more comprehensive. Also, it can be seen from the products Sumitomo Chemical published.
Sumitomo Chemical’s “Biorational” Business
To face the opportunity of world’s growing demand of biorational product, Sumitomo Chemical had made a lot of changes during this year to speed up the development for new products and expand global influence of its biorational business.
In March 2015, Sumitomo Chemical acquired Mycorrhizal Applications LLC, a producer of mycorrhizal fungal inoculums, to accelerate the development of its rhizosphere strategy and immediately expand its biorational product portfolio.
In April 2015, Sumitomo Chemical announced that its agricultural chemical business operations will be integrated with the biorational business operations, which belongs to its wholly-owned subsidiary Valent BioSciences Corporation (VBC), to strengthen its global crop protection business. After that, Sumitomo Chemical will directly manage functions relating to biorational business, including marketing, product management, new product development, business development and business planning.
In April 2016, Sumitomo Chemical launched second phase of its AgroSolutions Division - International reorganization which will enable greater leveraging of core strengths and capabilities while further enhancing synergies between its plant protection and VBC biorational businesses.
At the same month, VBC signed a global licensing agreement with a U.S. based company, LidoChem, and a long-term development and commercialization cooperation agreement with an Argentina based company, Rizobacter, both aiming to strengthen its Biorational business further.
Raising of “Green Crop Protection”
Actually, either “Biological products” or “Biorational products”, the key value of both terms is “Green Crop Protection”. With world’s fast growing demand of organic food, the continuing focusing on the environment and health problems and the more serious pesticide tolerance, biorational product market is under rapid growth period. (According to statistics from Stratistics MRC,the Global Biopesticides Marketis expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.7% between 2015 and 2022.)
However, only few companies raised the concept of biorational products, such as Sumitomo Chemical, Oro Agri and Nufarm. Others still classified their products as biopesticides, biostimulants, bioyield enhancers, bioplant health promoters, et al.
With the advancing adoption of the concept “Green Crop Protection” in the world, biorational production is under a unique position, and will usher in rapid development. Recent years, companies from all over the world had launched a lot of new biorational products, and had adjusted market arrangement by mergers and reorganization to improve the market share. In the near future, more and more traditional agrochemical companies will come into this industry and resources will be further consolidated. It could be predicted that mergers and reorganization of enterprises will be the important trends in biorational industries for some time to come.