Botanical fungicide approach expands to new markets

The world of biological-based products is expanding, as startups and established companies explore new ways to control pests. Botanical Solution, a startup with offices in Davis, California, is working to bring its unique approach to the biological market — but the source isn't a fungus or bacteria. The company uses botanical extracts from a plant native to Chile — Quillaja saponaria — also known as the soapbark tree.

Farm Progress has been tracking this startup in previous coverage. The company has been expanding into new markets beyond Chile into Mexico, and it has product under review at EPA as well. The product once sold as Botistrop has a new global brand, Quillibrium; and the company recently announced $6.1 million in Series A funding.

Syngenta has been a partner with BSI to market Botistrop in Chile — and now as Quillibrium with expansion into Peru. The botanical is effective against botrytis, a significant disease in high-value crops. "We have extended our partnership with Syngenta and expanded into Mexico for this year," says Gaston Salinas, CEO. "We are looking at the United States and will enter California initially. Our expectation is to be registered in the U.S. by the end of the year."

Salinas notes that Quillibrium will be marketed for use on high-value crops, including grapes and strawberries. The product works to stop botrytis and powdery mildew. "Those crops are our main focus, but we're also looking at almonds, pistachios and walnut to treat broad-spectrum diseases that affect those crops," he says. This botanical approach to disease control is different from using bacteria or fungi to control these crops. "We use conventional equipment to spray the product every 10 to 14 days, depending on the crop and target disease," Salinas explains. In high-value crops, multiple pesticide applications are key to quality and productivity management. 

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