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Marrone Bio's bioherbicide MBI-015 shows effective control of noxious weed Palmer amaranth

Palmer amaranth spreads rapidly and can lead to dramatic yield losses in crops such as corn and soybeans

Marrone Bio Innovations - Marrone Bio Innovations Inc bioherbicide MBI-015 shows effective control of noxious weed Palmer amaranth in field trials
The global herbicide market is worth $24 billion

Marrone Bio Innovations Inc (NASDAQ:MBII) has announced positive results from 2019 field trials for its novel bioherbicide, known as MBI-015.

The field tests using commercial rates for the company’s bioherbicide demonstrated control of the Palmer amaranth weed approaching that of a current post-emergent chemical herbicide, the firm said in a statement. 

Marrone Bio noted that across multiple trial locations using uniform protocols, control of Palmer amaranth was evaluated at three stages of growth, 7-to-10 days after MBI-015 was applied. Percentage-wise, control ranged from the mid-70s to the high-80s.

READ: Marrone Bio's crop biofungicide Stargus approved for use in Mexico

Palmer amaranth is a noxious weed that has spread rapidly, and has developed resistance to eight herbicidal modes of action. Left unchecked, this weed can lead to dramatic yield losses in crops such as corn and soybeans.

“Our decision to make a strategic investment in further research for MBI-015 has been validated by these positive 2019 field trials,” said CEO Dr Pam Marrone. “These results give us the confidence to move forward with a product that we expect to be a valuable tool in a grower’s integrated pest management system, as well as in our BioUnite program.” 

BioUnite is a proprietary Marrone Bio program that gives growers options to harness the power of its biological solutions with the performance of conventional products.

The company also has been issued a US patent covering claims related to pre- and post-emergent herbicidal activity to control weeds for its bioherbicide. Additional regulatory and patent submissions are planned for both MBI-015, a liquid formulation for use in conventional crops, and MBI-014, a granular formulation of the bioherbicide targeted for organic use. The company also holds patents related to the underlying bacteria used in the bioherbicide and its associated pesticidal compounds.

“These positive results will be the basis for additional research to ensure crop tolerance, test for additional weed control and prove effective commercial use in growers’ integrated pest management systems,” Dr Marrone added. “Growers continue to seek alternative tools to address the growing challenge of weed resistance. We believe there is a significant opportunity for a bioherbicide to be part of that solution in the $24 billion global herbicide market.”

According to the Internal Survey of Herbicide Resistant Weeds, there are currently 505 unique cases of herbicide-resistant weeds globally, with 259 species. Weeds have evolved resistance to 23 of the 26 known herbicide modes of action and to 167 different herbicides. Herbicide-resistant weeds have been reported in 93 crops in 70 countries.

Marrone Bio, based in Davis, California, provides bio-based pest management and plant health products for the US and international agricultural and water markets.

Contact the author: [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter @PatrickMGraham

Quick facts: Marrone Bio Innovations

Price: 1.16 USD

Market: NASDAQ
Market Cap: $172.99 m

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