Jun 1, 2023
Biotalys releases field trial info for biofungicide

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.

Biotalys logoThroughout 2022, Biotalys conducted more than 160 field trials 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 a news 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.

The figure below shows a comparison between a chemicals-only program and a rotation program under which Evoca is used in grapes at flowering instead of a chemical fungicide.

Trials were conducted in California, New York and Oregon across diverse climates. Vineyards represent a range of value, premium, and ultra-premium grapes. Boxes in the right-hand panel show FRAC (Fungicide Resistance Action Committee) codes for the reference chemical fungicides and Evoca used in all trials. FRAC codes were rotated per best practices for resistance management. The chemical references used are all rated 5/5 (excellent and consistent) by UC Davis for control of Botrytis on grapevines, according to the release.

In grapes, Evoca stood out as a true replacer for standard chemical applications during the critical flowering phase in integrated pest management (IPM) programs, protecting against Botrytis across expansive trials throughout the U.S. and Europe. Vinification trials also continued to show no impact on wine quality and taste with Evoca.

Biotalys also tested Evoca in other high-value fruits and vegetables. Key takeaways by crop type include:

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.

Biotalys also tested Evoca for the first time in blueberries, a high-value crop for which demand is growing globally. Disease pressure in the field trials was too low to demonstrate efficacy; so, further field trials will be conducted in this crop to test performance, according to the release.

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“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.

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