Agrochemical giants are increasingly interested in the development and production of biological products to protect important crops, but which plant will be the first to give competitive raw materials?
Chemical pesticides have been recognized as an integral part of the global food industry for decades.
Since the advent of Monsanto in the 1970s, glyphosate-based plant protection agents have helped increase and secure global food supplies.
This chemical has become so indispensable for the agricultural industry that its simultaneous removal from the modern agricultural system potentially carries the risk of starvation. However, the negative public insistence on the use of glyphosate, fueled by eco-activists (they blame glyphosate for the possible occurrence of oncology in humans), is a powerful tool for pressure on regulatory authorities to find safer alternatives with the subsequent banning of glyphosate.
Analysts believe that such a development - the withdrawal of glyphosate from the markets - is quite real.
France and Germany plan to ban the use of glyphosate by 2021 and 2023, while other countries are likely to soon follow suit. Given the fact that many of the alternatives are under development and remain in the testing phase, the massive prohibitions on the world's most widely used herbicide will “sideways,” experts warn.
There remains hope for those very large agrochemical companies with scientific personnel and finances for promptly offering farmers truly safe natural plant protection products with consistently proven effectiveness. There are definitely benefits for biopesticide manufacturers.
The current biopesticides market is valued at $ 3,6 billion, and is expected to grow to $ 2025 billion by 10,2. Moreover, according to experts, the competition of biological products with agrochemicals is possible provided that they will have the same effects as traditional synthetic products. If in small-scale organic production at relatively small agricultural plots, farmers are ready to stake part of the crop in the name of the idea of obtaining eco-crops, then at the scale of large crop holdings, agronomists are unlikely to accept responsibility for the harvest loss due to diseases or pests.
Agrochemical company Syngenta recently announced that it is actively researching natural pesticides to fill this gap in market demand. However, the company did not announce the exact release date.
Bayer launched its first Serenade biofungicide in China. Due to symbiosis on the periphery of the roots, this product is able to create a protective barrier around the root of the plants. Helping plants absorb more effective nutrients from the soil, it also allows the root system to grow more vigorously and enhances plant immunity, which reduces the risk of disease. The Serenade contains QST713, a biocontrol microorganism that is gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria that are widespread in a variety of habitats. The microorganism boasts strong stress resistance, widespread on the surface of the soil and plants. At the same time, the endophyte species is non-toxic and harmless to humans, livestock and the environment.
As a promising raw material for the production of biopesticides, products derived from mustard seeds are often considered. Scientists note that these are the most well-studied drugs with documented positive results from the use of vegetables, fruit crops and tobacco plants. Therefore, it is possible that mustard plant protection agents will be the first to compete with biopesticides (Based on an article by Colin Blecki, COO at MustGrow Biologics Corp, Canada).