Nov 15, 2021Biotalys’ first biocontrol demonstrates efficacy for growers
Biotalys, an agricultural technology company focused on addressing food protection challenges with protein-based biocontrol solutions, announced Nov. 15 the strong performance of its first biofungicide Evoca for grapes and strawberries in independent efficacy field trials conducted by a number of prestigious independent academic institutions in the United States in 2021.
The company’s ongoing global fruit and vegetable trial program now spans over 450 trials across multiple regions, pathogens and crops, providing data essential for regulatory purposes and both current and long-term product development.
Aiming to provide fruit and vegetable growers with a new rotation partner in integrated pest management programs to help control devastating fungal diseases such as botrytis and powdery mildew, Evoca was included in extensive field trials at California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, Strawberry Center, University of California Davis, University of California Davis Cooperative Extension, and the University of Florida. With its first biofungicide, Biotalys hopes to reduce the dependency on chemical pesticides with corresponding residues in harvested produce and offer a distinctive new tool to manage pathogen resistance development.
“The outcomes of this year’s independent field trials show that Evoca consistently performs as well as established market leaders when used in integrated pest management programs, further validating our novel approach and technology. We believe that Evoca, as a fully-biodegradable, protein-based product, has great potential as a partner for rotation that is safe and easy to use, offering a new modality to protect against resistance and reduce environmental impact while maintaining crop yields,” Luc Maertens, COO of Biotalys, said in a news release.
In all of the trials conducted in 2021, the final commercial formulation of Evoca was tested alongside many other treatments and non-treated control plots for an in-depth comparison of its performance to conventional chemical and biological fungicide products for grapes and strawberries. Part of Biotalys’ broader testing program, these industry gold-standard studies provide growers and crop advisors with detailed information on the performance of existing and pipeline crop protection products. Full results of these trials are now public by the institutions and included below.
Biotalys is planning on a market calibration launch of Evoca starting in the United States in late 2022 – pending regulatory approval. Biotalys submitted Evoca for registration to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the United States in December 2020 and expects to receive EPA approval in H2 2022. Biotalys also submitted for approval in California in April 2021, as this state performs its own in-depth review.
In the European Union, Biotalys received confirmation by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the College for approval of crop protection products and biocides (Ctgb) that the registration dossier submitted in March 2021 for the active substance of Evoca™ is admissible for review.
Summary of trials and results
In all the studies referred to below, Evoca was identified as EXP14 to guarantee unbiased results.
- University of California Davis (Primary Investigator Akif Eskalen) – 2021 grapevine trials
Botrytis fruit rot (BFR) (https://ucanr.edu/sites/eskalenlab/files/357290.pdf)
Across a total of 38 different treatment programs, three entries compared Evoca to synthetic and some biological fungicides in prevention of BFR. Treatments were applied three times throughout the trial (bloom, pre-closure, and veraison). Evoca treatments were mixed with adjuvants but not mixed or rotated with any other fungicides.
Evoca applied with an adjuvant had the second lowest mean disease incidence of Botrytis of all the treatments, and all three Evoca treatments performed better than the untreated control.
Powdery Mildew (https://ucanr.edu/sites/eskalenlab/files/355630.pdf)
Evoca was included in three treatment entries across a total of 65 treatment programs in this trial. Evoca at the label recommended rate was mixed with the same adjuvants as in the Botrytis trial, and rotated with sprayable sulfur that is efficacious against powdery mildew.
Treatments were applied once a week swapping between sprayable sulfur and Evoca. In all three Evoca treatment entries no powdery mildew was observed.
- University of Florida (Primary Investigator, Natalia Peres) – 2020/2021 strawberry trials
Evoca was assessed in six treatments across this study. Treatments included rotations of Evoca at two doses with two synthetic fungicides.
The rotations of Evoca with the synthetic fungicides provided disease incidence levels equivalent to other synthetic only rotations, and improved yields drastically over the untreated controls.
Biotalys entered six treatments into this study. Four treatments included rotations of Evoca with two synthetic fungicides.
The rotations of Evoca with synthetic materials provided disease incidence levels equivalent to other synthetic only rotations, and improved yields and disease reduction drastically over the untreated controls.
- California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, Strawberry Center (Primary Investigator, Kyle Blaur & Gerald Holmes) – 2021 strawberry trials
Botrytis fruit rot (BFR)
(https://content-calpoly-edu.s3.amazonaws.com/strawberry/1/images/H.%20Blauer-Field%20Day%20Handout%202021%20V2.pdfandhttps://content-calpoly-edu.s3.amazonaws.com/strawberry/1/documents/PF002 Botrytis early 2020.pdf)
Evoca was tested in rotation alone, and with adjuvants in a total of five different application combinations. Post-harvest incubation of fruit occurred at ambient temperature, with assessments taken 6 days after harvest.
Evoca alternating with one synthetic fungicide showed incidence of BFR that was statistically significantly lower than in the non-treated control plots, and among the top five lowest disease incidence treatments.
- University of California Davis Cooperative Extension (Primary Investigator, Surendra Dara) – 2021 strawberry trials
Botrytis fruit rot (BFR) (https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=50267)
Evoca was included in two treatment entries across a total of 25 treatment programs overall, and was compared to both synthetic and some biological fungicides.
By the conclusion of the trial, none of the treatments including full synthetic programs showed statistically significant improvement over the untreated control after the fourth spray application or for the average of four applications during the trial, leading to less conclusive results for all products tested.
* Evoca: Pending Registration. This product is not currently registered for sale or use in the United States , the European Union or elsewhere and is not being offered for sale.
Based on its novel Agrobody technology platform, Biotalys has developed a strong and diverse pipeline of effective product candidates with a favorable safety profile that aim to address key crop pests and diseases across the whole value chain, from soil to plate.
Biotalys was founded in 2013 as a spin-off from the VIB (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology) and is listed on Euronext Brussels since July 2021. The company is based in the biotech cluster in Ghent, Belgium.
More information can be found on www.biotalys.com.