Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (NASDAQ:MBII), (MBI) a leading provider of bio-based pest management and plant health products for agriculture, turf and ornamental and water treatment markets, has reported excellent product efficacy results in fast growing international markets with intense pest and plant disease problems.
The drivers beind the rapid adoption of biologicals are globally recognized and include evidence of increased yields and crop quality when biologicals are integrated into programs. Biologicals are also a key driver behind the reduction or elimination of synthetic pesticide residues on crops for export markets, delay of pest and plant pathogen resistance to chemicals, safety for workers and pollinators, and less environmental pollution.
In South Africa, Grandevo® and Venerate® Bioinsecticides have generated positive trial results in citrus – a key agricultural market. MBI products reduced citrus rust mite populations more than 96% and offered fruit a comparable level of protection as commonly used chemical products. Both Grandevo and Venerate provided effective control of citrus fruit damage caused by false codling moth. This pest bores into the citrus fruit, making them unmarketable. South Africa is Africa’s largest exporter of agricultural products and exports more than 1.6 million metric tons of citrus annually, with most fruit being shipped to the EU and Asia where limits on chemical residues are strictly enforced1. South African growers are increasing their use of biologicals to meet the demands for residue-free food from local and international markets, and in response to the EU’s ban on controversial neonicotinoid insecticides.
In Latin America, field trials with MBI products have demonstrated efficacy in addressing serious, key crop problems. For example, the addition of Regalia® Biofungicide enhanced existing industry programs for controlling coffee rust. Venerate Bioinsecticide, used in integrated pest management (IPM) programs for managing the dreaded coffee berry borer or “Broca,” successfully reduced the number of organophosphate insecticide applications, including that of the controversial chlorpyrifos, by 50 percent. The program with Venerate reduced boring damage by almost 70%, which was 40 percent more effective than the chemical-only program. Broca can cause coffee farmers to lose up to 20 percent of a crop and reduce the crop’s marketable price by 30 to 40 percent2. Coffee rust causes $1 billion in damage to coffee plants across Latin America and the Caribbean.3
Majestene® Bionematicide reduced the most important pest nematodes of bananas (burrowing nematodes) as well as or better than the organophosphate, chlorpyrifos. The burrowing nematode destroys the roots of bananas and plantains so that the plants are starved of water, nutrients, and lack support, causing 30-60% yield loss4. The use of Majestene to control nematodes would be a major step forward in reducing exposure risks to pesticide applicators as well.
In Mexico, both Grandevo and Venerate bioinsecticides have demonstrated effective and reliable control of the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP), a serious pest that transmits HLB disease. The Asian citrus psyllid has devastated Florida groves and has been recently found in California. Field trial data supporting the use of these two MBI-developed bioinsecticides to control Asian citrus psyllid is now being submitted to support label amendments, adding ACP control to existing Grandevo and Venerate registrations and labels in Mexico.
In Asia, Regalia is advancing in banana trials in the Philippines, showing good activity against the most serious disease this crop faces globally, black sigatoka. In previous trials in Costa Rica, Regalia combined with the standard chemical program increased banana girth by 27% compared to the standard chemical program alone. Convential sprays for this disease are 15-20% of the cost of bananas ($1000/hectare, 25-40 sprays per season).5
In Vietnam, MBI’s distribution partner has completed initial trials with Regalia showing a 20% increase in rice yields, and a concurrent reduction in discolored and unfilled grain caused by rice neck blast disease. Also, in citrus trials in Vietnam, Regalia decreased bacterial canker by more than 70%. In insecticide trials, Grandevo performed under intense pest pressure, reducing pest populations for control of red mites, thrips and mealybugs on strawberry, pumpkin, custard apple, orange and dragon fruit.
Sources: 1USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Global Agricultural Information Network Report 12/15/16, 2Specialty Coffee Association of America, 3 US AID, 4Pestnet.org, 5American Phytopathological Society