Feb. 12, 2021
As concerns about the environmental footprint of agriculture continue to grow, farmers and consumers are increasingly demanding ecological products.
Biopesticide and biostimulant manufacturers who commit themselves to develop environmentally friendly agri-solutions, undoubtedly contribute to expanding the spectrum of green tools for crop production. A great number of biologicals entered markets worldwide in 2020.
Among these products, those granted patents demonstrate their uniqueness. A patent can be an important part of company’s developing strategy and ensure their strong position in the market.
Below are five patented natural ingredients utilized to formulate biostimulants and biopesticides that were registered or launched in 2020.
Lysobacter enzymogenes strain B25
Futureco Bioscience’ RADISAN WG was designed to promote root development, improve root health and make the rhizosphere a prosperous environment for the activities of beneficial bacteria, resulting in higher water and nutrient uptake and yield of the crop.
RADISAN WG contains metabolites derived from Lysobacter enzymogenes strain B25. In 2020, the European Patent Office (EPO) granted Futureco Bioscience the patent for this bacterium’s nematicide activity and ability to promote plant growth (patent no. EP 3209132 B1).
The metabolites of B25 are beneficial to crop physiologic and metabolic processes. B25 secreted molecules and compounds have a broad range of enzymatic activities, including acid and alkaline phosphatases, that dephosphorylate compounds and increase the availability of phosphorus in the soil at different pH values. B25 metabolites also have different peptidase activities that turn proteins into small peptides (producing signaling effect on crops) or free amino acids (source of N for crops). B25 also provide 42, 29 and 74 enzymes involved in nitrogen, potassium and iron metabolism respectively, over 300 components working on the vitamins production and enzymatic cofactors, and 198 compounds involved in response and resistance to biotic and abiotic stress.
With additional metabolites of Corynebacterium flavescens strain B2575, RADISAN WG considerably increases the rate of survival transplants and stimulates the vegetative growth.
Plant Health Care’s biofungicides, PHC398 and PHC279, contain PREtec - Plant Response Elicitor technology – peptides. These environmentally friendly peptides are derived originally from naturally occurring harpin proteins, to activate a complex immune response in plants. US patent No. 10,470,461 and others, claim these unique peptides, as well as their use in combination with other agricultural products to enhance disease resistance, improve plant growth, control nematodes, and impart tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses.
PREtec peptides do not interact directly with disease pests, thus the pests are unlikely to develop resistance. These peptides, based on cutting-edge science, can be formulated as liquids or dry granules and deliver dependable results.
PHC398 is the first active ingredient from the PREtec platform approved for registration in the US, and PHC279 is the first product from the platform approved for sale in Brazil. The company expects that beginning in the second half of 2021, PHC279 will be applied as a seed treatment for the management of Asian soybean rust in Brazil. With the US EPA’s approval for PHC398, future PREtec peptides will be registered quickly and at low cost in the US.
Plant Health Care is partnering with several companies globally exploring a variety of PREtec products for foliar and seed treatment application, as solo products and mix partners. They are planning to commercialize PREtec peptides into market opportunities worth more than $5bn.
Symborg's N-fixing Methylobacterium symbioticum is new species entered the global markets in 2020. This bacterium fixates nitrogen from the air and naturally provides it to the plant. The microorganism enters the plant through the leaves in its initial stages of development and quickly colonizes the crop's phyllosphere. It converts nitrogen from the air into ammonium, directly and constantly metabolizing it into amino acids throughout the growing season.
Methylobacterium symbioticum was discovered by Symborg, and this patented endophytic bacterium (granted by EPO, patent no. 19382457) is formulated in their biofertilizer BlueN. With one single application on the leaves at beginning of plant growth stage, the plant will directly and steadily assimilate nitrogen supplied by BlueN throughout the growing season. The application of BlueN contributes to a smart fertilization, reducing soil degradation as well as nitrate leaching. The product is organic certified, suitable for all types of agriculture systems.
Azotic Technologies’ nitrogen fixing technology (Envita™ in North America and N-Fix® in the rest of the world) is derived from Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus (Gd), a naturally occurring food grade bacterium that fixes nitrogen in all crops. It is environmentally friendly providing a sustainable solution to fertilizer overuse and nitrogen pollution as well as improving plant efficiency and increasing yields.
A robust formulation has been commercially available for corn and soybean in the US since 2019, and in Canada since 2020. According to Azotic, commercial sales on corn and soybean in the US has reduced the need for applied nitrogen fertilizer on average by 27% without impacting yield.
A product based on the N-Fix technology has also been developed for rice with an optimized dose, formulation and delivery process. A series of independent field trials on rice conducted in Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam by accredited contract research organizations during 2017-2020, have showed that the overall yield increases 17-22%.
In 2020, US Patent and Trademark Office granted Azotic two significant patents for N-fix, titled: “Novel Microorganisms and Their Use in Agriculture” (US Patent 10793484) and “Plant Inoculation Method” (US Patent 10745327). Azotic also obtained several patents earlier that year in Europe and other territories for this unique technology. Their IP portfolio includes in-furrow and foliar spray applications (corn & soya), seed soak treatments (rice) and equivalent dry formulations under development to launch across the world.
Clonostachys rosea strain CR-7
The EPO has granted the patent in 2020 (patent no. EP3044307B1) for Bee Vectoring Technologies (BVT)’s Clonostachys rosea strain CR-7, that offers natural control of a wide range of plant diseases (such as botrytis, sclerotinia and monilinia) and for its use as a biocontrol agent vectored by bees. The EPO has also granted a patent previously to BVT’s beehive dispensing apparatus that enables bees to delivery CR-7 and other biocontrols.
BVT announced in 2020 that their proprietary fungicide Vectorite with CR-7 (OMRI-listed) has been approved by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation for use on commercial crops. As California has 1.3 million acres of key crops for BVT to target, and 1.1 million of them are pollinated by honeybees, the state is the company’s largest market opportunity in the US. Combined with the US patents granted for related technologies in the past years, this approval for Vectorite’s use is a milestone for BVT to accelerate revenue growth in 2021.
Biologicals registered/launched in 2020
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This article was initially published in AgroPages ‘Annual Review 2020’ magazine. Download it to read more articles.
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