AgBiome’s New Combo Fungicide Approved and Ready to Launch in Early 2023
Farmers will soon have a new weapon in their crop protection arsenal.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved Research Triangle Park-based AgBiome’s new combination fungicide to treat foliar diseases. Esendo is the latest in AgBiome’s lineup of microbial-based solutions – and the first in its proprietary Connate portfolio – to get an OK from the EPA.
The fungicide also is AgBiome’s first combination product, according to the company. It is made up of the old synthetic fungicide, azoxystrobin, and the active ingredient in AgBiome’s premier biological product, Howler. The company said Esendo uses multiple modes of action against a broad spectrum of diseases that spread through the soil and plant leaves. It can be deployed to control agricultural diseases such as rust and alternaria (a major plant fungal pathogen) in fruit, vegetable, and tree nut crops.
“As the first of our Connate line, Esendo fungicide is an exciting and important development for the market,” said Gustavo Marcos, senior product manager at AgBiome. “Not only will it provide significant protection for a variety of crops covering a wide disease range, but it will also optimize the chemical load introduced into the environment and help producers extend the life cycle of important synthetic ingredients.”
AgBiome said Esendo should be commercially available in early 2023. In addition to Esendo and Howler, which was launched in 2019, the company also sells Theia fungicide, introduced earlier this year. Both Howler and Theia are used for disease control in a broad variety of crops.
“This is excellent news to learn that AgBiome has developed a formulation to combine multiple modes of action into a single product, said Paul Ulanch, Ph.D., executive director of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s crop commercialization program. “The risk of resistance to important pest protection agents increases when only a single active ingredient is used, so it is understandable that farmers may prefer Esendo as a combinatorial MOA product. I anticipate many of the companies commercializing biologic-based pest control solutions will evaluate formulations to combine multiple active ingredients into a single product. In this case, AgBiome is also able to reduce the overall amount of azoxystrobin applied by making it as or more effective at a lower dose when used in combination with their Howler active ingredient.”
AgBiome, a 2013 spinout from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, develops novel crop protection products by using the pant microbiome to identify and develop genetic traits that provide resistance to pests. The company’s proprietary Genesis technology screens trillions of microbes, millions of gene sequences and thousands of different strains to find the ones that have properties particularly suited for agricultural applications.