Product innovation has always been a critical driver to the sustainable business development of enterprises.
Over the years, the business entities active in all links in the agricultural industry chain have been making continuous product innovations and upgrading in the face of rapid market demand changes and the agrochemical industry’s transformative development.
Looking back on 2022, the number of worldwide new registrations and new launches of pesticide varieties has decreased significantly, compared to the previous year. Instead, there were substantial increases in launches of multi-component formulations; pesticides created in China gradually emerged to catch up with the world’s advanced level; as one of the most essential means of assurance of seed health, the seed treatment products showed strong growth potential. Focusing on First Registration, multi-component formulations, Created in China and the Seed Treatment initiatives, this article presents a review and analysis of the vital pesticide varieties registered/launched globally in 2022, to explore the industry development trend and the new development opportunities.
Rare and precious first Registration
According to related data, in 2022, six new pesticidal active ingredients of four pesticide creation-oriented companies were granted the first registration in the world, including 1 fungicide, 2 insecticides and 3 herbicides, which are respectively Syngenta’s fungicide/nematicide cyclobutrifluram with the trade name of Tymirium®, BASF’s insecticide dimpropyridaz with the trade name of Axalion™, Sumitomo Chemical’s insecticide oxazosulfyl with the trade name of Alles™, Qingdao KingAgroot’s three latest patented herbicidal compounds - flufenoximacil, fluchloraminopyr and flusulfinam.
Cyclobutrifluram is a novel SDHI fungicide launched by Syngenta after more than ten years of unremitting efforts, which is the company’s fifth SDHI fungicide/nematicide launched following isopyrazam, sedaxane, benzovindiflupyr and pydiflumetofen. It is another blockbuster fungicide/nematicide after Bayer’s fluopyram of the kind, and the second nicotinamide (picolinamide)-based compound after BASF’s boscalid. The Tymirium® technology can protect many crops against plant parasitic nematodes and soil-borne diseases, protect soil biodiversity, promote soil health and improve crop yield and quality.
In May 2022, cyclobutrifluram was granted the first registration in the Central American country El Salvador, followed by registration in Argentina. In 2023, it is expected to be registered in China. For the coming years, Syngenta is planning its application to more than 100 crops across 60-plus countries. The peak annual sales of cyclobutrifluram are expected to reach $500 million.
In October 2022, BASF’s insecticide Efficon™ (dimpropyridaz) was granted the world’s first registration in Australia. Efficon™ is used to control silver leaf whitefly and greenhouse whitefly on cotton, gourd, fruit and vegetable, as well as aphid on brassica and green leafy vegetable, aphids on cotton and melon. BASF expects the launch of its dimpropyridaz formulation in Australia and South Korea in 2023 for the first time, followed by a launch in India in 2024 and in the European Union in 2026.
In July 2022, Sumitomo Chemical was granted registration of its active ingredient oxazosulfyl in Japan, with the launch of two formulation products. Oxazosulfyl is the first novel benzoxazole insecticide containing sulfopicolinic segments, which often exist in sulfonylurea herbicides. It is effective against many pests, including early-stage pests, planthoppers, locusts and major pests on rice, such as Lepidoptera pests.
In April 2022, KingAgroot’s three latest patented herbicide compounds, flufenoximacil, fluchloraminopyr and flusulfinam, were granted registration in Cambodia, the first-time registration in the world. The registration of the three products in China has reached the final stage, scheduled for market launch in China in 2023-2024.
Market dominated by multi-component formulations
Creating novel pesticides is complex, taking a long time at a high cost. Hence, the research of pesticide formulations has become an effective means to prolong the service life of pesticides and reduce pest control costs. In recent years, several major pesticide multinational companies represented by Syngenta have also slowed the launch of new compounds. Currently, they are focusing more on exploration and development of new formulations, new formula and new application technologies, especially the development of multi-compound combination products.
Formulation of multi-compound mixtures can reduce the number of applications of a single agent, which makes crop protection easier while improving the cost-effectiveness of application in favor of farmers. However, formulating a mixture of multiple active ingredients greatly increases the complexity of formulations. For example, a multi-compound formulation requires the stability of active ingredients without increasing the environmental and biological toxicity, must be free of cross-resistance and antagonism, should enhance synergy and complementation, defer resistance, and extend the spectrum of prevention and control.
In 2022, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, UPL and ADAMA actively developed a mixture of products, especially formulation of mixtures with the world’s top single agents.
Syngenta released its Seedcare innovation, CruiserMaxx® APX seed treatment (Thiamethoxam + Metalaxyl-M + Picarbutrazox + Fludioxonil + Sedaxane). The peak of soybean seed and seedling protection, CruiserMaxx APX delivers powerful protection against early-season insects and diseases, including Pythium and Phytophthora.
Bayer launched the new Prosaro® PRO 400 SC Fungicide, an evolution of Prosaro® fungicide – a market-leading solution for the control of Fusarium Head Blight (FHB)/head scab known for its trusted chemistry and reliability. Prosaro PRO (Prothioconazole + Tebuconazole + Fluopyram) built for cereal growers across the U.S. is an innovative crop protection product that delivers premium protection against head scab and reduces deoxynivalenol (DON) levels, leading to superior grain quality. Subsequently, Bayer launched TriVolt™ (Thiencarbazone + Flufenacet + Isoxaflutole) to the United States. As a new selective corn herbicide from Bayer, TriVolt brings built-in resistance management and consistently high levels of weed control for corn growers. Mateno Plus (Flufenacet + Diflufenican + Aclonifen) is a brand-new herbicide released by Bayer to Uruguay for controlling broadleaf weeds and grasses that affect wheat and barley crops.
Prothioconazole, Bayer’s successful commercial product, has seen its sales increase yearly since its launch in 2004. In 2020, its global sale reached $1.382 billion, staying steadily on the top as the five best-selling fungicides. Since the prothioconazole compound came off patent, the leading international crop protection companies such as Syngenta, BASF, ADAMA and UPL have joined research and development based on the product. Major active ingredients compounded with prothioconazole include: Fluoxastrobin, bixafen, trifloxystrobin, tebuconazole, metalaxyl, fluopyram, picoxystrobin, pydiflumetofen, bixafen, fluopyram, azoxystrobin, mancozeb, penflufen, benzovindiflupyr, spiroxamine, boscalid, metalaxyl and clothianidin.
In 2022, UPL launched for soybean growers in Argentina Goldleaf (Azoxystrobin + Prothioconazole + Mancozeb), followed by the release of the herbicide BATALIUM® AMBED™ (Flucarbazone-sodium + Fluroxypyr + Bromoxynil) to the United States. BATALIUM® AMPED™ is a versatile weed solution that can control more than 70 kinds of broadleaf weeds and 11 grassy weeds.
BASF launched its triple combination Belyan (Mefentrifluconazole + Fluxapyroxad + Pyraclostrobin) in the Brazilian market, for controlling a wide range of cotton diseases, including major leaf spot diseases. Among the compounds, Mefentrifluconazole, the first novel isopropanol triazole fungicide developed and launched by BASF, has filled the 10-year gap of nonavailability of triazole fungicides, having become an essential tool for disease control and resistance management.
In Europe, ADAMA launched the new cereal foliar herbicide - Timeline® FX (Pinoxaden + Florasulam + Fluroxypyr) and the new-generation winter cereal herbicide Chrome® (Flufenacet + Diflufenican + Chlortoluron). Thereafter, ADAMA launched to Brazilian market its microbiological fungicide and nematicide Protege (Bacillus thuringiensis + Bacillus velezensis + Bacillus amyloliquefaciens), for application to soybean and sugarcane crops for control of nematodes, via different modes of action.
In 2023, Corteva plans to launch its Kyro™ (Acetochlor + Topramezone + Clopyralid), a unique offering for the market that will help control troublesome weeds, including glyphosate- and/or ALS-resistant weeds.
New-emerging pesticides created in China
So far, China has grown into the world’s largest pesticide producer and exporter. However, there is still a particular gap in the creation of pesticides compared to developed countries. According to statistical analysis, out of the 300-plus common pesticides, only 40-plus pesticides are independently developed by Chinese industry players, while the efficacy of only over ten pesticides is regarded as satisfactory. ″Although our current technical level of pesticide creation is not high, great progress has occurred in recent years and the technical level of pesticide creation is constantly improving. With the steady progress of China’s high-quality agricultural development and green development, China’s pesticide creation will catch up with the world’s advanced level,″ once said Song Bao’an, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the President of Guizhou University. Currently, the pesticide creation taskforces represented by Shenyang Agrochemical Research Institute, KingAgroot, Cynda, Hangzhou Udragon, CAC Group and Jiangsu Agrochem Laboratory, have been making constant innovation and development. The research and development results are proved by numerous novel pesticide varieties approved in recent years by the Pesticide Common Name Technical Committee of International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
Speaking of pesticide creation, KingAgroot is the most eye-catching company. The company has focused on new compound research and development, and biotechnology breeding to solve problems of resistance, crop safety and environmental issues. Over the last decade, KingAgroot has already launched to market its Tripyrasulfone, Bipyrazone, Cypyrafluone, Fenpyrazone, with six new compounds scheduled for launch in the five years ahead.
Some days ago, KingAgroot entered into a new herbicidal compound research agreement with Syngenta Plant Protection, where the two sides are committed to working together in the development of herbicides of a new mechanism of action, which will guide the new-generation herbicide innovation worldwide to contribute to improving the global agricultural productivity.
Coincidentally, Shandong Cynda appears equally eye-catching. It is reported that the quinazone developed by Shandong Cynda is now sold under its brand name; the other two products created, pyraquinate and pheprodim, will soon be launched to market; products on the R&D pipeline also include CDH 22003 and CDH 21118.
Regarding the future development of the company, Wang Xianquan, the President of Cynda, once said in an interview with industry media that Cynda would continue to explore the seed-pesticide integration and would consolidate the resources from all industry circle to jointly create a business model to form the dual-patent model of ″patented compound + patented biotechnology seed,″ thus to set up a first-class seed-pesticide integrator in China.
In 2022, the ISO Technical Committee on Common Names for Pesticides provisionally approved and published 11 new active ingredient common names (refer to Table 1), which cover seven herbicides, three insecticides and one insecticide/miticide. Among them, eight novel active ingredients are independently developed by Chinese companies, which are: KingAgroot’s four herbicides - Flufenoximacil, Fluchloraminopyr, Flusulfinam, Broclozone; Hangzhou Udragon’s insecticide and acaricide Spirobudifen and insecticide Tiorantraniliprole; The herbicidal pyriflubenzoxim of Jiangsu Agrochem Laboratory, and the insecticide Flupyroxystrobin of Syngenta. In January 2023, ISO provisionally approved the common names of two new pesticide active ingredients - the herbicide Icafolin of Bayer CropScience and the herbicide pyraquinate of Shandong Cynda.
In April 2022, KingAgroot’s three latest patented compounds, the herbicide Flufenoximacil, Fluchloraminopyr and Flusulfinam, were approved in Cambodia for the first time in the world. The registration of the three products in China is under the final process, scheduled for launch in China in 2023-2024, whilst Broclozone is expected to be registered in China in around 2025.
Hangzhou Udragon’s Spirobudifen and Tiorantraniliprole were developed with Qingdao University of Science and Technology. In 2019, Hangzhou Udragon obtained the registration of Spirobudifen TC 95% and Spirobudifen 24% SC in China for prevention and control of citrus red spider. In September 2021, Zhejiang Udragon obtained the first Tiorantraniliprole technical and formulation registration in China, which are Tiorantraniliprole TC 95% and Tiorantraniliprole 10% SC.
Table 1. 11 New pesticide varieties approved by ISO in 2022
Seed Treatment becoming a new source of growth
According to MarketsandMarkets, the Seed Treatment Market is expected to grow from USD 6.1 billion in 2022 to USD 9.2 billion by 2027; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.3 % during the forecast period. The fastest-growing industry sector is seed treatment with biological solutions, such as biostimulants and biologicals, which is estimated to reach 11.9%.The expected growth potential has attracted market presence or increased investment from leading agrochemical, biosolution-oriented, and functional chemical companies.
Insecticide and fungicide seed treatments
In 2022, Syngenta released its five-compound seed treatment - CruiserMaxx® APX (Thiamethoxam + Metalaxyl-M + Picarbutrazox + Fludioxonil + Sedaxane), which protects soybean seed and seedling against the early-stage soybean diseases such as Pythium and Phytophthora as well as insect pests. To tackle legume and cereal Pythium diseases in the United States, Syngenta launched the Vayantis® seed treatment fungicide Picarbutrazox, which can be custom-mixed to enable growers to use tailored solutions to solve specific problems. VICTRATO® (cyclobutrifluram) is a novel nicotinamide fungicide and nematicide developed by Syngenta, which is of wide control spectrum, high efficiency, less amount of use, and easy application. It can effectively control various nematodes and major fungal diseases.
WinField United launched to the U.S. market its Warden®CX II (Thiamethoxam + Metalaxyl-M + Fludioxonil + Sedaxane + Picarbutrazox), which is a soybean seed treatment agent containing four fungicide active ingredients and an insecticide to protect against a variety of early seasonal diseases, including Pythium and Phytophthora, as well as fusarium, rhizoctonia, seed-borne diseases and early seasonal pests.
Corteva introduced several new seed treatment agents into Canada for use in corn and rapeseed, including Lumiscend™ (Inpyrfluxam), which is a fungicide seed treatment applied together with Lumiderm (cyanopamilamide) for control of rapeseed broad-spectrum insect pests; Lumialza™ (Bacillus amylbacterium strain, PTA-4838), which is a nematicidal seed treatment agent, as well as Lumiscend Pro (Ethaboxam + Inpyrfluxam+ Metalaxyl), which is a fungicide seed treatmen. Moreover, Corteva Agriscience launched its Dermacor® (chlorantraniliprole) seed treatment products in Brazil, mainly for application to soybean, corn, sorghum, rice and legume crops.
Bio-based seed treatment solutions
Corteva Agriscience launched Lumialzam (Bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain PTA-4838) in Brazil, the company’s first seed treatment bionematicide in Brazil for use in soybean and corn crops, which can be colonized in crop roots to form a biological barrier against various harmful nematodes.
HELM Argentina and Protergium jointly launched Innobio Protergium Terra (Bacillus velezensis T2 + Trichoderma harzianum TH10) in Argentina, a biological seed treatment containing microbial flora for use in wheat and barley crops. The product’s synergy between the two microbials can effectively improve crops’ growth, adaptivity and viability under biotic and abiotic stress conditions.
The Argentine Rizobacter launched Rizoderma in Argentina, a seed treatment fungicide containing Trichoderma harzianum, and Rizoderma TSI in Brazil, a new product containing Trichoderma afroharzianum. The Brazilian Spraytec launched its TopSeed in Argentina, a seed treatment formulated based on Trichoderma harziana. TopSeed uses Spraytec’s proprietary microtechnology to treat wheat and barley, providing zinc, silicon and other nutrients to ensure even and uniform seedlings.
As the ″queen of biologicals,″ mycorrhizal inoculants are favored for their capability of yield increase, reduced use of fertilizer, mitigation of the impact of drought and the property of permanent carbon sequestration. The Israeli Groundwork BioAg launched its flagship product Rootella®, based on naturally robust strains of mycorrhizal fungi that are symbiotic with 90% of plant species, offering the most efficient and effective solution to a diverse range of crops and growing areas. Inoq Advantage is a new mycorrhizal inoculant (arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus) for a special application, developed by the German Inoq. Inoq Advantage is a new mycorrhizal inoculant product for professional use with a grain size up to < 200 µm, ideal for using in seed coating. Lavie Bio, a subsidiary of the Israeli Evogene, launched the bioinoculant wheat result™ in the United States, which is a combination of two microbials (Arthrobacter globiformis and Erwinia gerundensis) to enhance nutrient uptake and to increase crop yield and profitability of farming.
Furthermore, the world’s leading functional chemicals companies, including Croda, Borregaard, Solvay, Evonik and IMCD, released a range of innovative and sustainable solutions for the optimization of the performance of seed treatment products.
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This article was initially published in AgroPages' 'Annual Review 2022' magazine.
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