Jun 1, 2023Ag tech company Biotalys releases biofungicide field trial info
Biotalys, an agricultural technology company that works to provide alternatives to conventional chemical pesticides for crop and food production, has released the initial results of field trials for one of its biocontrol agents.
Evoca is Biotalys’ first protein-based biocontrol for crop and food protection. The biofungicide earned an entirely new resistance classification by the Fungicide Resistance Action Committee (FRAC). It helps control fungal diseases such as Botrytis and powdery mildew in fruits and vegetables. Evoca demonstrates strong performance in field trials across multiple regions, climates, soil types, production types, pathogen pressures and crops, according to a news release.
Throughout 2022, Biotalys conducted more than 160 field trials in California, New York and Oregon across diverse climates across a wider variety of crops to support its product positioning in Europe and the U.S.
Similar to previous years, the field trials showed excellent results for the use of Evoca against Botrytis in grapes, according to the release. Both the original Evoca and an updated formulation consistently met or exceeded a leading chemical fungicide and biological solution against Botrytis – further demonstrating the product’s efficacy and reliability in overcoming fungal diseases that can decimate yields if left unchecked, according to the release.
Key takeaways by crop type include:
Across trials in Europe, Evoca demonstrated protection against powdery mildew, comparable to the existing chemical solution and another proven biological solution. While many existing chemical solutions are facing disease resistance, Evoca offers growers a new mode of action and provides a clear benefit as it does not leave chemical residues on the crop.
Evoca performed similarly to other biologicals against Botrytis fruit rot allowing for use of the product in IPM rotations in warm, spring climates. Further field tests are underway to determine the optimal frequency, timing and application rotation to expand to other climate scenarios and regions.
Despite high disease pressure during trials, adding Evoca to the traditional chemical protection program demonstrated comparable efficacy against powdery mildew to a chemicals-only program. Growers will therefore be able to reduce the chemical residue on tomatoes by adding Evoca to their rotation program.
“Our field trial results have proven that Biotalys’ first biocontrol product Evoca can bridge the gap between the performance and convenience of chemical solutions and the safety and sustainability profiles of biological solutions for produce growers,” Lacey Cole, Biotalys’ head of business development and marketing in the Americas, said in the release. “We’re working closely with industry leaders like Biobest and Beck Ag to determine the best ways and times to work new, safer, more sustainable crop protection solutions like Evoca into growers’ established IPM programs.”
The trademarked Evoca is pending registration. The product is not currently registered for sale or use in the U.S., the European Union or elsewhere and is not being offered for sale, according to the release.
Evoca is on track to obtain approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency later this year, while EU regulatory approval is expected in 2025, according to the release.
“It is time to embrace a fully integrated approach to sustainable agriculture that takes into account not only which crop protection solutions to use, but also how much, when and on which plants to avoid any negative impact on the surrounding plants or environment, while securing high yields,” Luc Maertens, Biotalys’ COO, said in the release. “Through our comprehensive field trial assessment with Evoca, our first protein-based biofungicide is paving the way for an entire line of next-generation biocontrols that will provide the winning combination of safety and efficacy.”
The Belgium-based Biotalys worked in partnership with biological control and pollination provider Biobest and agriculture business consultancy Beck Ag.