Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. and Groundwork BioAg, Ltd announced a collaboration to create and commercialize an all-biological comprehensive seed treatment. The treatment is expected to contain a mycorrhizal biostimulant from GBA as well as a bioinsecticide, a bionematicide, and a biofungicide from MBI.
Currently, there are successful commercial seed treatments that contain chemical insecticides, fungicides, and nematicides for row crops such as corn and soybean. There are also a limited number of successful seed treatments that contain both biologicals and chemicals. However, none of the existing seed treatments contain an all-biological stack of insecticides, fungicides, nematicides, and biostimulants. The proposed product is expected to enhance crop yield and reduce fertilizer requirements (especially phosphorus), while controlling soil-dwelling pests and plant diseases. This comprehensive solution has the potential to provide a wide scope of benefits to growers (conventional and organic alike), without the adverse effects of certain chemical inputs. The first efforts of the collaboration - seeds treated with GBA's mycorrhizae and MBI's microbials are in field trials on corn and on soybean in the U.S. Midwest and in Israel.
The Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation (BIRD), a foundation that supports and encourages cooperation between Israeli and U.S. companies in various areas of technology, selected the collaboration for matching funding. MBI notes that it has another project, a previously announced collaboration with Evogene, also partially funded by BIRD.
While industry estimates vary, the companies estimate the global seed treatment market at $4.2 billion, growing at a compound annual rate of 10% over the next five years. Insecticides currently hold the largest share of this market and the crop protection category is expected to be the fastest growing segment over the next several years. Both companies noted that they are continuing to pursue, on their own or with other partners, other solutions for the fast-growing seed treatment market.