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Biologicals innovation, registration policy and industry/market trends discussed at BioEx 2023qrcode

Apr. 19, 2023

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Apr. 19, 2023

Editor’s note: The Biopesticides, Biostimulants and Novel Fertilizers International Summit (BioEx), organized by AgroPages, is a global platform for interchange among researchers, policy makers, consultants, manufacturers, distributers and other experts in bio-ag sector. 

Since its first session in 2018, BioEx is committed to the development and innovation of biologicals, promoting idea exchanges and cooperation among enterprises from China and abroad, from upstream and downstream sectors.

The 4th BioEx was held in Hangzhou, China on March 9 and 10, 2023, with great success. This year, the event had over 350 attendees from more than 200 enterprises. During sessions and panel discussions, speakers shared their knowledge about biologicals innovation and industry/market developing trends, and gave insights into registration policy and advice on how to register products. Below are some highlights of the discussion at BioEx 2023. 

Global agricultural production is facing challenges. Climate change requires crops to be more resistant to extreme weather. Water scarcity forces the production operation to spend more on water-efficient agricultural technologies. The negative impact of soil degradation makes soil health a concern and the toxicity of chemical pesticides to the environment and the resistance from pests require growers to use sustainable alternatives. These challenges are forcing crop management to make a change in developing biostimulants and biopesticides. 

The growth rate of the biological market in many parts of the world has been much higher than that of chemical agents. The speed of market transformation is driven by several factors, in which innovative technologies and supportive policies for biologics are important drivers.

Innovative technology


Dr. Jiang Xianzhi, founder and CEO of MoonBiotech, talked about exploration and inspiration of cross-industry biotechnology innovation.

As a world-leading microbiome discovery and biomanufacturing company, MoonBiotech’s microbial applications have covered both medicine and agriculture. According to Jiang Xianzhi, based on its in-depth research and data mining of microbiome, MoonBiotech has applied new technologies and concepts of biomedicine to the field of biological agriculture, having promoted new-generation microbial solutions from labs to the crop field. MoonBiotech has set up the world’s largest microbial culture resource pool; has identified and conserved more than 210,000 strains with independent intellectual property rights, aiming to conserve 500,000 strains by 2026. MoonBiotech is using innovative microbiome, synthetic biology and artificial intelligence to accelerate the process of industrialization of the microbiome. At present, MoonBiotech’s farming-oriented microbial products include Trichoderma series (efficacy and formulation stability higher than similar products in China), Burkholderia cenocepacia (first strain in China) and PPFM lines (Methylobacterium, first in China).


Synthetic biology has been hot in product development and application in recent years. Dr. Song Zhongshu, Senior Researcher and Head of the biology laboratory at the University of Bristol, said that synthetic biology is one of the most important fields of development of the century, with great potential. It is one of the effective tools for a human to tackle the issues of food, protein and environmental crisis, especially when artificial intelligence and machine learning are developing rapidly. The application of synthetic biology in pesticide production will be inevitable in the new development. Enterprises with this technology will be in a strong market position. 


Bioherbicides are a scarce resource in crop management. According to Pam Marrone, Founder of AgraQuest and Marrone Bio Innovations, in the multi-billion-dollar biopesticide market, the market value of bioherbicides is only US$120 million (data of Dunham Trimmer). The shortage of bioherbicides leads to the low market share of biopesticides in the plant protection market. Nevertheless, innovative products are being constantly developed. Marrone’s bioherbicide MBI-014/015 contains Burkholderia rinojensis A396, which is systemic against pigweeds. At the BioEx 2023, Gustavo Sosa, Founder and Scientific Director of INBIOAR S.A., also gave a presentation to talk about the plant-derived herbicides of INBIOAR.


Wang Peng, Director of Product Development and Registration of Anhui Huaxing Chemical Industry, spoke about the advantages and disadvantages, product life cycle and the Asian market estimate of spinosad and spinetoram line of products.

Spinosad products are of unique features. According to Wang Peng, such products in China are mostly used for control of thrips, a distinctive application compared to other product categories. Such products are currently the only ones that can effectively control thrips (major pest in China).


Sarah Liu, Market Development Manager of Valagro China, talked about the mechanism and efficacy of TALETE, which improves water use efficiency. 

Climate change frequently causes drought, and the technologies that increase crop water productivity (Yield under per-unit water consumption) can effectively address this problem caused by climate change. According to Sarah Liu, TALETE® is a brand-new solution launched by Valagro to promote plant water productivity, protect crops from water stress and help growers manage water resources scientifically under various water conditions, facilitating yield increase sustainably. 


Tan Yongping, Country Manager China of Kimitec, presented the technology developed by its MAVVi Innovation Center, as well as several key products

Kimitec’s MAVVi Innovation Center possesses the AI platform LINNA, by which Kimitec can estimate the active ingredients of any natural compounds and decode the most effective cells. The technology accelerates the research process, reducing research time from months to weeks with minimized error rates. The application of LINNA boosts the exploration of natural active molecules. Bayer has recognized the technology and cooperates with Kimitec in research and marketing development, expediting the market promotion of their biological formulations.


Stéphane Carbonne, Head of Global Portfolio Management for Biocontrol at ProFarm Group, a Bioceres Crop Solutions company, gave a presentation about the company’s new technology, RinoTec. The technology is as effective as, or even more effective, than some chemical products such as neonicotinoids, but more environment-friendly. Powered by this technology, Eminence ST Pro, a seed treatment based on proprietary Burkholderia rinojensisusing, produces high-concentration of key metabolites with insecticide, miticide and nematicide activity. Due to its high concentration, the amount of use is low, which results in a lower cost. The product’s low-cost, environment-friendly and efficient features make it a competitive solution. RinoTec can effectively control various insect pests such as Coleoptera, aphids, whiteflies, mites, nematodes, as well as some of Lepidoptera and Diptera, offering a sustainable new solution for growers. 


Bionema’s Incapsulex™ technology platform encapsulates active ingredient of bacteria or fungi, offering high efficacy for pests (such as aphid, whitefly, spider mite, thrip and phine weevil) and diseases control. It increases the efficacy by delivering active ingredient in a microcapsule which enhances adhesion and retention on plant surface, solving industry wide foliar challenge. The technology can also be applied for seed coating.


Rabia Erdem, Director of Trade Department of Turkey ELITA, and Zhu Bin, Technical Director of JBN-naturepower, talked about cooperation between ELITA and Chinese distributor JBN-naturepower.

According to Zhu Bin, wool carpet is one of Turkey’s specialties exported to many countries. However, quite a lot of the wool cannot be used in the textile industry. Turkey ELITA has cooperated with research institutions and developed patented enzymatic hydrolysis technology, which converts keratin in wool into peptides and amino acids for agricultural applications. The product is also formulated with microbial metabolites derived from fermentation, and lignin, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, to promote plant growth.


Liu Nan, Product Manager of HEBEI MONBAND WATER SOLUBLE FERTILIZER, gave an overview of the current status and application of humic acid from mineral resources, the research of humic acid activated by microbes, the advantages of this technology, as well as the performance of such humic acid.

MONBAND uses its patented microbial strains to activate mineral humic acid, leading to the advantages of such humic acid. The pH of the humic acid activated by microbes is neutral, which is different from the physical activation (acidity) and alkaline lysis (alkalinity). The neutral pH humic acid is more friendly to the soil, and its compatibility and solubility are better than alkaline humic acid. The neutral pH humic acid is also a source of energy for beneficial soil microorganism. Moreover, such humic acid is rich in various functional substances, including multiple biostimulants and biochemical reaction intermediates, which are more abundant than humic acid from alkaline lysis.


Tong Leiting, Domestic Industrial Products Department of Xi’an TBIO Crop Science, spoke on the humic acid molecular structure reshaping and its function on water management for crops.

Tong Leiting said that TBIO has improved the functional characteristics of humic acid by changing the molecular structure of humic acid. Under specific temperatures and pressure, the macromolecular chain of humic acid is separated into small molecules. With catalysts, an additional reaction occurs, which adds functional groups to the small molecules of humic acid, improving their ability to chelate with metal ions, enhancing acid resistance and hydrophilicity, and resulting in improved soil water retention.


Yu Yifa, Deputy General Manager of Harworld, explained the genome sequencing for biosynthesis of 5-Aminolevulinic acid (5-ALA). They have built cell factory for the production which reduced cost.

According to Yu Yifa, 5-ALA is a precursor for the biosynthesis of chlorophyll, which captures light and fixes CO2, promoting the synthesis of soluble carbohydrates in plants, fruit coloring and sweetening. Harworld has used high throughput to screen gene clusters and built a cell factory. Their 5-ALA is produced through fermentation, from which the content of 5-ALA reaches 55g/L. 


Yuan Jiafu, Product Technical Director of Zhejiang Sega Science and Technology, spoke about the development and promotion of co-fermentation of metabolites with endophytic mycorrhizal fungi and Trichoderma spore in Chinese market

According to Yuan Jiafu, Sega owns the world’s leading technology which has enabled the scale-up production based upon fungi and bacteria co-fermentation, which is a pioneer in China. The Trichoderma asperellum used in fermentation can control pathogens, induce plant resistance to stress and improve soil. The Bacillus subtilis in fermentation, produces several antibiotics and metabolites that promote plant growth. The combination of the disease control and growth-promoting substances from the fermentation makes the end product a biopesticide with high efficacy, broad spectrum and competitive cost.


Regulatory agencies worldwide carry out policies to promote the application of sustainable biologicals.


Giel Tettelaar, Chairman of EMCI Register, briefed the new EU fertilizer regulation and need to pay attention to for product registration in EU

The current policies are being constantly improved. Taking EU regulation as an example, Tettelaar believes that the new fertilizer regulation, put into effect in July 2022, will have a profound impact on the fertilizer industry; however, the regulation still needs to be completed. The regulation will never keep up with innovation, therefore it will be constantly updated and include new ingredients.


Zhang Jiansheng, Marketing Director of Agri-Innov, shared his insights on the fertilizer registration policies in China as well as prospect on the policy development. He mainly talked about the overview of current fertilizer registration, the latest recommendations from the experts of the review committee, the status of registration policies of organic biofertilizer and microbial soil amendments.


Shen Jin’er, Head of Agrochemical Technology of REACH24H Consulting Group, shared her knowledge of biopesticide categories, registration trends and policies in China, Europe and the United States, as well as her insights on strategic approach to registration in Europe and the United States. 

According to Shen Jin’er, China’s 14th Five Year Plan for Pesticide Industry Development, was released in 2022, which requests the enhancement of biopesticide development and gives priority to the development of microbial pesticides, agricultural antibiotics, biochemical pesticides, RNA pesticides and peptide-based biopesticides. Speaking of registration fees and the time required by China’s registration, the cost of chemical pesticides registration is over RMB10 million, with a period of roughly five years; the cost of biochemical pesticides registration ranges from hundreds of thousands to millions RMB, for approximately three to four years; the cost of microbial and botanical pesticide registration is about millions of RMB, for around four years. Among these products, biopesticides are more advantageous than chemical pesticides. 

In the United States, the process of biopesticide registration has been simplified, where the registration of new biopesticides takes over RMB1 million, for more than three years, whilst the overall cost of the registration of new active ingredients of conventional pesticides can be tens of millions to hundreds of millions RMB.

Registration service providers, such as EFCI Register, Joy Consulting, Agri-Innov, REACH24H and Staphyt, who provide registration consulting service for biological formulation suppliers, can help them accelerate product launch to market.

In addition, some industry organizations such as EBIC, contribute to improving the EU’s regulatory framework.

Beneficial policies and growing demand for healthy food from consumers have greatly promoted the growth of sustainable technologies and attracted the attention of many investors to the technologies providing financial support to the R&D.



Li Bo, Director of Science and Technology Management Department of Syngenta Group China      

Liu Yang, Research Director of Citic Agriculture      

Joseph Zhou, Managing Partner of Bits x Bites      

Chen Zhuxi, Doctor of Pharmacy, Vice Director of Investment Department of SDIC Venture Capital (SDICVC)

Liu Yang shared her feeling about the changes in the industry. In the past, agriculture was an unpopular field in the capital market. In the second half of 2020, investment in agrotechnology started becoming popular when more and more people showed interest in agricultural biotechnology and the capitals that did not have an interest in agriculture in the past began to value this sector. This is a good sign of industry development.


Eva Hu, General Manager of AgroPages, presented the development trend of biologicals.

As for the future biological development trends, Eva Hu presented her viewpoints: 1) The development of agricultural biologicals is moving on a fast track 2) Relevant industrial policies are being improved, where regulation becomes more scientific and rational 3) Investment in the field of agricultural biology is getting hotter, where continuous investment becomes a driver to market growth 4) More innovative biotechnologies are moving forward from labs to the market, and more scientists are walking out of labs to the market 5) The role of microorganisms in driving sustainable agricultural development is growing remarkably 6) Collaboration is being formed, either for R&D, production or access to markets 7) The deployment and promotions in the bioindustry by multinationals are being accelerated to build their market presence 8) The most significant opportunity to develop biological solutions lies in soil health and seed treatments 9) Latin America is a hot market for biological solutions and the demand from developing countries increases 10) Digitalization will significantly promote the rapid development of the biological industry and we need to utilize the digitalization.


Other presentations

Although the low stability and high cost of application remain challenges to the promotion of biologicals, innovative technology, market demand, beneficial policies and financial support have created great market opportunities for biologicals. To find the proper orientation of the technologies and market positioning of products is the key to the successful development of biological business.

Source: AgroNews


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