Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. has submitted MBI-302, a biological nematicide, for registration with the U.S. EPA, company officials announced last week. MBI, based in Davis, is a global provider of bio-based pest management and plant health products,
The new product uses a patent-pending species of bacteria, Flavobacterium sp. strain H492, discovered in MBI’s discovery screen for suppression of nematodes in agricultural and horticultural crops. It is active against a broad range of plant parasitic nematode species.
Field trials conducted in 2013 show that MBI-302, when applied as a seed treatment, reduced soybean cyst nematode numbers and enhanced soybean yields. MBI is developing the product as a seed treatment and as a liquid to be applied via broadcast, in-furrow, shank, banded or chemigation methods.
“MBI’s strategy is to develop multiple products across all categories of growers’ needs,” CEO Pam Marrone said in a news release. “MBI-302 nematicide joins MBI’s fungicides, insecticides and herbicides to do just that.”
The Society of Nematologists projects global crop losses due to plant parasitic nematodes at $100 billion each year. In the United States alone, nematode damage to major crops — such as soybean, cotton, sugar beets, tomatoes and many other fruits and vegetables — is estimated to reduce crop yields by more than $5 billion annually.
The World Vegetable Center estimates that losses in vegetables range from 17 to 38 percent. With many chemical pesticides restricted or eliminated due to their toxicity to mammals and other organisms, biological nematicides can provide an effective, more sustainable solution, Marrone said.
The company also announced that it has begun production of Grandevo, its flagship bioinsecticide, at its plant in Bangor, Mich. This is MBI’s first production of a fermentation product at this site since the plant was renovated. It was purchased in July 2012.
“Producing this first batch of Grandevo is an important milestone in meeting the margin objectives we have set for 2014,” said Hector Absi, senior vice president of commercial operations for MBI. “As we expect to continue delivering double-digit sales growth of our existing products and plan for new product introductions, this new manufacturing capability will allow faster scale-up, make us much more responsive to surges in market demand and more effective in managing our production costs.”
Revitalization and expansion of the facility will be completed in multiple phases, with an anticipated total capital expenditure of $32 million. Installation of the first of three fermentation tanks, and the construction of a dedicated building to house them, marks the completion of phase 1A of the project.
Future phases will include production of the company’s Regalia biofungicide, as well as increasing the capacity of the utilities and installing larger fermenters that will accommodate production of multiple products at higher volumes.
Absi adds, “This is a key accomplishment for our company, but there is more to be done to fulfill our manufacturing plan. Our priority is to ensure we have the capability, and flexibility, to meet the exciting sales targets we have set for 2014.”
For more information, visit www.marronebio.com.