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Futureco Bioscience, expert in bio-precision agriculture with strong R&D&I capacityqrcode

Jul. 15, 2021

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Jul. 15, 2021

image.png"Futureco Bioscience has always been a company which focuses on soil health and soil microorganisms in order to boost crop production. It suffices to say that one of our best selling products is Bioradicante. Added metabolites boost critical functionalities in our products' portfolio (as is already the case of Radisan and the line of DEFENDERs), and with Genomaat, our metagenomic platform for microbial communities engineering, we have the tools to really transform crop production in a sustainable way. I am confident that this is the beginning of what bio-precision agriculture will be in the near future," said Rafael Juncosa, the CEO and President of Futureco Bioscience, in this interview with AgroPages.


Could you please talk a bit about Futureco Bioscience?


Futureco Bioscience is an agro-biotechnology company which focuses on the research and innovation of products for crop protection and nutrition. The company was founded in 1993 in Olèrdola (Barcelona). Our mission at Futureco Bioscience is to lead the change towards regenerative agriculture, creating value through scientific knowledge and technological innovation. Characterized since its creation by an ecological and sustainable approach, the company is distinguished by its in house organization, developing and manufacturing its products from its own headquarters and marketing them globally. Futureco Bioscience is present in 40 countries and has partners, collaborators and associates all over the world.


The corporate values that single us out are several; our commitment to innovation, to quality and to the environment. Half of our staff is made up of researchers who work in cutting-edge laboratories; only this year ENAC has accredited four projects and the Chemical Analysis Laboratory. Our commitment to the environment has been built into the DNA of the company since it was founded in the 90s.


Futureco Bioscience specializes in products for biocontrol and biostimulation of agricultural crops. We provide the most demanding agriculture with the tools to enable production of the highest quality, always with respect for the environment.


Earlier this year, Futureco Bioscience launched Genomaat, an innovative custom-optimize service, to empower growers through soil microbiome data and personalized analysis. What are the unique features andadvantages of this service?


Genomaat is different from other services, because it does not only analyze metagenomic data, but it also translates those into agronomical recommendations and microbial solutions.


Genomaat uses the biofunctional parameters provided by DNA sequencing technology and big data integration to study and evaluate the status of each soil-crop ecosystem. We use a holistic approach. Data from metagenomic analysis are integrated with knowledge and experience, which go from microbial ecology to agronomy, plant physiology and biocontrol or soil science. Once the diagnosis is complete, Genomaat offers tailor-made microbial solutions and personalized treatment programs based on the company's unique collection of microorganisms or on the native microflora of the analyzed plot, coupled with "Bioenhancers", when needed. These are a special line of products that will ensure that these micro-organisms adapt to the environment quickly and effectively.


Futureco Bioscience owns patented Lysobacter enzymogenes strain B25 which provides nematicide activity and is able to promote plant growth. What makes the B25-derived product RADISAN different from the similar products in the market?


Undoubtedly, the added metabolic activity of our strain of Lysobacter enzymogenes strain B25 into each one of the microganules of Radisan makes it stand out. 


We are very excited by the potential of this strain as last year the European Patent Office (EPO) granted the patent for its nematicide activity and ability to promote plant growth (patent no. EP 3209132 B1). The metabolites of B25 are very 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). Moreover, B25 provides 42, 29 and 74 enzymes involved in nitrogen, potassium and iron metabolism respectively. It also provides 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.


All these synergisms with amino acids and microelements present in the formulation, constitute the added value of the product and are the basis of its proven root enhancing premium activity in vegetable crops. At the moment, we are evaluating data from experimental trials about RADISAN effects on soil micro and macro biota. I am happy to share that we are observing unexpected improvements, especially with earthworms, and the results will be published soon.


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What supports you for these achievements? Would you like to tell us about your great R&D capacity?


For more than 27 years, Futureco Bioscience has been strongly committed to R&D and investing in highly qualified people. Today I can proudly say that this represents 45% of the company's staff. This definitely contributes greatly to the value of the company and the quality of our products.


Our R+D Department is composed of an expert multidisciplinary team of researchers in the fields of Microbiology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Plant Physiology, Biocontrol (Phytopathology, Nematology, Entomology), Bioprocesses and Formulation. In terms of infrastructure, our headquarters are fully equipped with laboratories for scientific research, a pilot plant for the scaling up of formulations and growth chambers and greenhouses in which we evaluate, in semi-field conditions, the performance of the formulated prototypes.


Most recently, within the GENOMAAT and Futuromic projects, we have incorporated bioinformatic specialists into our R&D team. This is with the ambition of exploiting next-generation sequencing technologies when performing metagenomic analysis in-house.


Futureco Bioscience is now present on six continents. Regarding the strategies to promote biological agri-inputs, what are the differences between developed markets (such as the United States) and emerging markets (such as Latin America)?


Independent of geographical location, any food producer today, is looking for sustainable and innovative solutions to improve soil health and fertility in order to boost plant nutrition and reduce inputs to sustain plant growth. It is assumed, and indeed proven, that optimal soil conditions make the soil nutrients more available. This in turn reduces the need for inputs and improves plant development, while increasing the tolerance of the plants to stress and pests.


Emerging markets, such as Latin America, have widely diverse agro-ecological situations, with varying availability and quality of arable land and varying climatic conditions. Prospects for agricultural development necessarily hinge on these considerations.


Today, sustainable and eco-friendly food production is an unwritten rule, especially following the pandemic. Globalization supports the advancement of a shared knowledge and to expand the reach of research, strategies and innovation, whereby the gap between developed and emerging markets is reduced. I would say that the striking exceptions of this time are the countries, which have no active plans for environmental preservation, neither in agriculture nor in any other sector.


What are your plans for R+D+I or product launches in the next five years?


Futureco Bioscience has always been a company which focuses on soil health and soil microorganisms developed in order to boost crop production. It suffices to say that one of our best selling products is Bioradicante. We are constantly improving this product using new formulations. Added metabolites boost critical functionalities in our products’ portfolio (as is already the case of Radisan and the line of DEFENDERs), and with Genomaat our metagenomic platform for microbial communities engineering is applied to crop production. You can visit genomaat.com to know more. I am confident that this is the beginning of what bioprecision agriculture will be in the near future.


On the other hand, after the big success of NoFly, we are expanding our portfolio of biocontrol products. We are in the registration process of two powerful broadspectrum biopesticides, which are very effective against targets such as powdery mildew (Oidium neolycopersici, Glovomyces chicharacearum, Leveillula taurica, Erisiphe necator), downy mildew (Bremia lactucae, Phytophthora infestans, Plasmopara viticola), rots (Fusarium oxysporium), sclerotinia, pox (Rhizoctonia solani), and bacterial diseases such as Pseudomonas syringae, Pectobacterium and Xanthomonas. Moreover, we have one already patented bionematicide and two other bionematicides which are in the process of registration. We hope that they will be available in the next few years.


Further to this, we are exploiting the cumulative knowledge of our multidisciplinary team to assess and fine-tune the timing of application and the optimal dosage that will maximize the efficacy of our products. Futuromics is a transcriptomic analysis platform which explores the mechanisms of the action of biostimulants and biopesticides in the market. The aim of this is to understand, at a molecular level, how their application influences plant metabolism and physiology. The data from this work will help us to show the efficacy of our products and their impact on ecosystems. Through this research we will uphold the values of quality and innovation that have made Futureco Bioscience a leading force in R+D+I within agriculture.


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This interview was originally published in the magazine 2021 Biologicals Special

Click the picture below to download the magazine and find more reports on biologicals.

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