Marrone’s New Bioherbicide Shows Promise in Palmer Amaranth Fight

Company will further research and develop novel biological herbicide.

Palmer amaranth has developed resistance to eight herbicide modes of action, including glyphosate, atrazine, sulfonylureas, and dinitroanilines. 

However, Marrone Bio Innovations has discovered positive results in 2019 field trials for its new bioherbicide, MBI-015. 

At commercial rates across multiple trial locations that used uniform protocols, control of palmer amaranth was evaluated at three stages of growth, seven to 10 days after MBI-015 was applied. Control ranged in percentages from the mid-70s to the high 80s. 

The company will continue to invest in and research MBI-015, says Pam Marrone, chief executive officer of the company. “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,” Marrone says. 

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. According to a press release, the Davis, California-based Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. “…is a leader in sustainable bioprotection and plant health solutions.” Bioherbicide products are derived from natural ingredients that have weed suppression characteristics. 

The company also has been issued U.S. Patent 8,822,193, which covers claims related to pre- and postemergent 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,” Marrone adds. “Growers continue to seek alternative tools to address the growing challenge of weed resistance. We believe there is significant opportunity for a bioherbicide to be part of that solution in the $24 billion global herbicide market.”

Industry Background

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.

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