The global biopesticide market is expanding, and in 2026 will be growing at 15% a year. This is significant growth compared with traditional pesticides, whose rate is between one and two percent a year. In Brazil, the sector is estimated to have grown by 33% in 2021, with revenues close to $ 1.7 billion. Approximately 20% of Brazil’s farmland is estimated to use biological products continuously. Environmental regulations tend to become stricter, as is in Europe, which should foster further research and development. For example, 433 biopesticides were registered with Brazil’s health regulator, Anvisa, in December 2021, at least 35% of them (151) being registered in the last three years alone.
This growth reflects demand from farmers for more sustainable practices and products that, in turn, are in demand by the consumer market in Brazil and worldwide. Biological products are essential in this respect because they have a reduced carbon footprint and do not leave toxic residues in plants. On the contrary, biological residues boost soil fertility. There are other significant benefits of microbial formulations, which can be applied alone or in synergy with chemical pesticides. They can also be applied to small or large agricultural areas and in various crops, including corn, soybeans, and sugarcane.
The development of effective biological products depends on a complete structure of research and methodologies, including the technology for formulating living microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi. The main challenge is to ensure the viability of the microorganism in the formulation to ensure the storage of the product on shelves. This is because contact with air, moisture, and surfactants for a long time negatively interferes with the viability of the microorganism.
One strategy to increase shelf life while maintaining the viability of microorganisms is to physically protect cellular structures by encapsulation in hydrophobic polysaccharides or oil. This strategy aims to avoid hydration of the spores during storage so that they are hydrated and start their development only after application in the field. Surfactants applied in formulations must be biocompatible and used in adequate concentrations to not sensitize the microorganism. This development strategy ensures longer storage time, a high viability rate, and appropriate physical-chemical parameters for the application, such as retention and spreading.
Obtaining good viability and field application results are among the main challenges microorganism formulators face. Some considerations are the presence of an extracellular matrix, pH level, electrolytes, and other non-surfactant ingredients added to the formulation.
Development – Oxiteno’s team works in co-creation with clients and partners. Our researchers monitor the growth of microorganisms to determine which products and solutions may or may not be recommended for this application. Physical-chemical and performance tests for the formulations in plants kept in a greenhouse are also performed to meet the application challenges.
The importance of capabilities – The complex development of WG and SC-type biological formulations requires specific knowledge and equipment. Oxiteno invests constantly in state-of-the-art equipment and training for its professionals. We have a dedicated microbiology team and laboratory, which has all the necessary equipment for developing and evaluating microbiological formulations (library of ATCC microorganisms, a flow cytometer, laminar flow, microscopy).
Application tests are done using equipment such as a spray chamber, which simulates application on plants, and a rhizotron, which evaluates the effect formulations have on roots. Oxiteno uses a greenhouse structure to cultivate and maintain treated plants for further evaluation and has partners to perform specific pest tests and field studies.
High-tech products ensuring a room-temperature shelf life of up to two years, in addition to offering physical-chemical characteristics similar to those observed in chemical formulations, have been developed by our team.
Global agribusiness demands integrated management with organic products, contributing to increased sustainability in the field. Oxiteno is prepared to serve formulators with innovative solutions aligned with sustainability. You can count on us.