Biotalys biobacteriacides, biofungicides, ag biosolutions tackle 2 birds with 1 stone

November 15, 2020 |

Biotalys is transforming food protection with unique protein-based biocontrol solutions, tackling two birds with one stone – reducing food waste and driving the sustainability of food production. But how? And why should we care?

In today’s Digest, how Biotalys is creating nature-based protein products that protect food, ensure a safe, sustainable food supply, and reduce food waste – more important than ever during a global pandemic, the latest on field trials from all around the world, product launch plans, an exclusive Digest interview with Patrice Sellès, CEO, and more.

From their biocontrol fungicide for controlling Botrytis cinerea and Powdery mildew to their latest results from field trials all around the world, Biotalys is worth more than a gander so let’s dive in.

First, why do we care?

Chemicals are great in many ways – like those in some disinfectant wipes that kill COVID-19. But chemicals aren’t necessarily a good thing especially in our food, and farmers are dealing with an increasing number of consumers who don’t want chemicals in herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers.

But farmers need to fight those pesky bugs and invasive weeds, and if they don’t, they risk losing their crops. and thus livelihood.

Agricultural foods also tend to go bad relatively quickly which means there often is a lot of food waste. Yep, strawberries rot if you don’t eat them in a certain amount of time, well, because it’s real food, not shelf-stable, processed food. An estimated 1.6 billion tons of all food produced globally goes to waste, which if you only talk money is about $1.2 TRILLION in value, according to Biotalys. If you only talk environment, that’s about 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Either way you look at it, it’s a bummer.

So Biotalys is aiming at tackling both the need for less chemicals in our food and the need to decrease food waste.

How? It’s all about microbes making proteins

Biotalys is looking at it from a biobased perspective – using biocontrols to create a safer, more sustainable food chain that allows farmers to still use solutions on their agricultural products to maintain productivity and quality and lower food waste on the consumer end.

Founded in 2013 and based in Belgium, now with North American headquarters in North Carolina, Biotalys has a proprietary protein-based biocontrol platform and are targeting the high-value biologicials crop protection market.

In an exclusive Digest interview with Patrice Sellès, CEO of Biotalys and veteran international ag exec formerly with Syngenta, we asked about the protein-based biocontrol. “The microbes are genetically engineered to make protein using carbon sources like green methanol, sugars. It depends on the type of microbe we are using, right now we are very versatile.”

A nice aspect of their biocontrol products is that they are biodegradable but remain in nature long enough to protect against the threat (fungal, insect and bacteria). Yet they are equivalent to chemicals in terms of consistency and potency. Their Biofungicide is the first product against powdery mildew and botrytis mold on strawberries and have had successful tests on grapes, good potential for tomatoes, and other crops. So far, testing has gone well often outperforming traditional chemicals, said Sellès.

Product launching and pipeline

Sellès told The Digest that their first product is launching in Florida in 2022 and plan on having the registration dossier to U.S. authorities by the end of this year.

They have had 150 field trials all around the globe including California, Oregon, Florida, France, Spain, Italy, South Africa, Japan, and more – pretty much everywhere except Australia, said Sellès.

In terms of the what the future looks like for Biotalys, Sellès shared this product pipeline graphic with The Digest and said that while today their focus is on biofungicide, they have a variety of pest management products in the pipeline, including insecticides and bio-bacteriacides.

“Our goal is to replace traditional chemicals, get less residues on the food, yet have the same quality and something you can trust. We hope to replace more and more chemicals with alternative solutions that help safety, biodiversity, food protection, and can be applied closer to consumption time.”

Interestingly, Sellès told The Digest, “We consider ourselves a ‘food protection’ company not ‘crop protection’ company. We are not here to revolutionize agriculture, but to transform it and create a transition to more sustainable solutions whenever possible.”

Sellès noted that they are in discussion with a number of key players in the ag space and food space to better understand how to position their product and how to differentiate the value the product can bring along entire food chain.

As reported in The Digest in June, Biotalys established new U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, and acquired Diego Angelo as Chief Business Officer (CBO) and Head of the U.S. subsidiary.

Angelo served as CCO at Sound Agriculture, after multiple commercial leadership roles at BASF, Bayer and Monsanto. He said “Biotalys’s disruptive technology and lead biofungicide, BioFun-1, are uniquely positioned to address unmet needs of the food value chain, from efficacy to residue control and shelf-life management.”

Biotalys was also just awarded $1.3 million (€1.1 million) in a VLAIO research grant to support the development of novel protein-based bio-bactericides for the management of bacterial plant diseases.

Bottom Line

Biotalys wants growers and farmers to get the yield and quality they need, while also giving the food an extended shelf life and less residues for consumers. It comes down to safety as well as food waste. With their major U.S. expansion and big product launch, it is definitely movin’ on up.

Check out more at “Protein-Based Biocontrols: The Digest’s 2020 Multi-Slide Guide to Biotalys” here.


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