″To master these challenges, we need to further invest in building competences and capabilities in the formulation space. This includes the scientific understanding of bio-delivery and bioavailability principles, design and development of formulation systems for novel modalities i.e., beyond the existing small molecules to include large molecules and biological systems (e.g., proteins, peptides, microbials etc.),″ said Bernhard Grimmig, Global Head of Formulation Technology, Crop Science Division of Bayer, in a recent interview with AgroPages.
He also shared his views on some innovation formulation technologies and special features, the application situation of automation control and artificial intelligence (AI) in formulation application and production, and the product development strategies to address the evolving industry changes.
Could you share some innovation technologies in the formulation R&D, Production and Application?
Changes in application technologies, grower expectations for efficacious solutions, properties of the active ingredients including new modalities such as biologics, as well as increasing regulatory expectations for safe and sustainable solutions are major drivers for innovation in the formulation space. In the application space, we have seen a rapid adoption of drone application in recent years in particular in Asia replacing labor-intensive knapsack sprayer application. Increasing farm sizes in other parts of the world are also driving the need for increasing spray efficiency i.e., by reducing spray volumes. Hence, we focus in our formulation & application area on testing our existing crop protection products for Very-Low Volume (VLV) applications and also consider VLV features in the design of new formulations. An example for an innovation need driven by regulatory demands is the required replacement of microcapsules based on polyurethan/polyurea or polymeric seed coatings by biodegradable solutions in light of the upcoming European microplastic regulation. We are currently exploring different biodegradable encapsulation technologies and polymers for these important uses. Examples for innovations dealing with properties of active ingredients includes solutions for volatility / drift control such as our VaporGrip® technology reducing off-target movement of Dicamba and the addition of drift-reducing agents (DRA) in formulations.
Could you highlight the innovation formulation technology / product and special features of your company?
Bayer is a leading company in the crop protection and seeds & traits space and combines the expert know-how from several legacy companies. We research and develop new formulations at our two main sites in Monheim, Germany and St. Louis, USA, besides smaller teams in Yuki, Japan and Vapi, India. Examples of innovations in the formulation space includes the development of oil dispersions (ODs) with the aim to increase efficacy of systemic active ingredients and / or compatibility with the crop, or as medium for actives which are not stable in water. We have also developed several products based on microencapsulation technologies for sustained, controlled release, for improved safety to crops or for the operator. An example is the Warrant® herbicide which provides slow release of acetochlor, activated by moisture for improved crop safety and longer lasting residual control. Another example is the award-winning Fox® Xpro formulation, which gives excellent control of the full range of soybean diseases. This formulation was designed for superior delivery and uptake of the actives through build-in retention, wetting and uptake adjuvants, as well as for reduced wash-off from plants and for ease of cleaning of bottles. Our team in Japan is currently launching a new formulation toolbox consisting of single active herbicide products allowing easy tank-mixing of herbicides as part of a digital weed detection and recommendation solution.
Could you talk about the application situation of automation control and artificial intelligence (AI) in formulation application and production of your company?
Like other companies in our space, we intensively observe and explore the potential of automation control in the application space, what I understand as precision or spot application based on application maps or based on sensors / cameras for weed detection. The fastest adoption of precision application systems can be expected in weed control which will have a significant impact on product and portfolio offerings. In our formulation & application R&D we have to test the compatibility of our solutions with these new precision application systems which are either based on dual-tank, dual spray nozzle lines, or direct injection at nozzle level.
Regarding the artificial intelligence (AI) in the formulation development. At Bayer R&D we have significantly strengthened our digital and computational efforts in R&D. The formulation team is closely partnering with a dedicated "Computational Life Science" team with the goal to improve data generation, capture and insights. We have developed dashboards allowing better visualization and analysis of multi-recipe data e.g. storage data. We are working on models, which will help us in predicting chemical / physical stability of products as well as bio-efficacy-related properties such as cuticle penetration. In addition, our scientific understanding of formulations and the interaction of various components has improved significantly. In combination with the increased availability of data, capabilities of data visualization and AI tools as well as increased computing power, this will further advance the ″Science″ of formulation development.
Could you share some changes of market requirements, regulation & policy and application technologies of your company's target markets? What are product development strategies and response to evolving changes?
The key question is how to feed a growing population in a sustainable way in light of climate changes. This requires that farm outputs need to increase while reducing inputs, meeting increasingly demanding safety expectations from regulators.
In the formulation space, tighter regulations of chemicals based on hazard criteria is impacting availability of co-formulants or formulation inserts and has and will trigger replacement activities but will also drive the development of new solutions. As already mentioned above, the microplastic regulation in Europe will be a push for considering biodegradability of formulation components. Buffer zone regulations drives the need for drift-reduction application and formulation technologies.
We will also see a further diversification in agricultural production systems from further intensification and increased farm sizes to specialization such as in-door / vertical farming systems as well as expansion of organic farming. Together with changes in application systems, the emergence of new modalities or active principles based on peptides, proteins, biologicals such as fungi, microbes, plant extract will further push the need for new and innovative solutions in the formulation and application space. To master these challenges, we need to further invest in building competences and capabilities in the formulation space. This includes the scientific understanding of bio-delivery and bioavailability principles, design and development of formulation systems for novel modalities i.e., beyond the existing small molecules to include large molecules and biological systems (e.g., proteins, peptides, microbials etc.).
This article was published in AgroPages '2023 Formulation & Adjuvant Technology ' magazine published this May.
If you'd like to share your company's story and products/solutions. Please contact Grace Yuan via: email@example.com
|Find this article at: http://news.agropages.com/News/NewsDetail---46553.htm|