Original Article Source: StartUs Insights
5 Top Biopesticide Startups Impacting The Agriculture Industry
We analyzed 121 biopesticide startups in the agriculture industry. BioLogic Insecticide, BioPhero, WeedOUT, Bee Vectoring Technologies & AgroSphere develop 5 top solutions to watch out for. Learn more in our Global Startup Heat Map!
Our Innovation Analysts recently looked into emerging technologies and up-and-coming startups working on solutions for the agriculture sector. As there are a lot of such startups working on various different applications, we decided to share our insights with you. Here, we take a look at 5 promising biopesticide startups.
Heat Map: 5 Top Biopesticide Startups
Using our StartUs Insights Platform, covering 1.116.000+ startups & emerging companies, we looked at innovation in the agriculture sector. For this research, we identified 121 relevant solutions and picked 5 to showcase below. These companies were chosen based on a data-driven startup scouting approach, taking into account factors such as location, founding year, and technology among others. Depending on your specific criteria, the top picks might look entirely different.
The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights 5 startups & emerging companies developing biopesticides. Moreover, the Heat Map reveals regions that observe a high startup activity and illustrates the geographic distribution of all 121 companies we analyzed for this specific topic.
BioLogic Insecticide – Bait Sweetener
Pests destroy tonnes of food grains annually. Often, pest infestations have devastating effects on local economies, like during the 2019-20 locust infestation. The use of synthetic pesticides comes with problems, such as soil pollution and pesticide-resistance. Biopesticides, or biological pesticides, refer to a variety of pest control mechanisms that employ naturally occurring or engineered organisms, as well as substances derived from them.
BioLogic Insecticide is a US-based startup that offers a naturally occurring compound as a biopesticide. The pests develop a preference for the startup’s bait sweetener and carry it back to the site of their origin for a greater impact. It kills fruit flies, pharaoh ants, pee aphids, and other pests, but does not affect the beneficial insects. The solution is also low-cost, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly.
BioPhero – Pheromones
The blanket spraying of pesticides incurs high costs and has a negative impact on the environment. Pest management solutions look for methods to target particular pests or areas within a field. For instance, the use of pheromones of particular insect species confuses the male insects and makes it hard for them to find females. Since mating disruptions do not kill the insects, the likelihood of them developing resistance is considerably lower when compared to other solutions.
Danish startup BioPhero develops pheromones for pest management. It uses a yeast-based fermentation process to produce concentrated and stabilized pheromones against a variety of pests. Fermentation allows BioPhero to synthesize pheromones at a large-scale and inexpensively, unlike synthetic pesticides, enabling row-crop applications. The startup’s products target cotton ball worms, diamondback moth, rice stem borers, and fall armyworms.
WeedOUT – Sterile Pollen
Weeds compete with crops for resources that eventually lead to lower yields. Herbicides are popular agents to fight weeds. However, weeds often develop resistance to herbicides, which spreads quickly in the weed population due to its genetic drift. Plant protection mechanisms that do not kill weeds, or interfere with its life cycle in any way, do not lead to the development of herbicide resistance. These include methods such as sterile pollen or the use of other biological agents.
WeedOUT is an Israeli startup that develops sterile pollen as a herbicide. The startup’s proprietary weed pollen is applied artificially during the weed flowering period. It competes with naturally occurring weed pollen and, on fertilization, leads to the formation of aborted seeds. Since the pollen is specific to the weed, it has no side effects on the crop. The startup is developing pollen for palmer amaranth, waterhemp, and rigid ryegrass.
Bee Vectoring Technologies – Endophytic Fungus
Not all microbes are harmful to the plant. Endophytic species live within the plant for part or whole of their life cycles and have mutually beneficial relationships with the host plant. Endophytic microbes, that are known to kill certain plant pathogens, now find applications as biopesticides. Since they are already adapted to live within a plant, the growers do not need to worry about pesticide uptake by the crops.
Canadian startup Bee Vectoring Technologies uses commercially grown bees for precision agriculture. The bees pass through an inoculum dispenser system where they pick up the biopesticide and deposit them on the plants. The startup’s biopesticide solution, BCT-CR7, uses a naturally-occurring endophytic fungus. It is especially effective against fungal pathogens, such as Botrytis and Sclerotinia. The fungus improves the yield for a variety of crops, including strawberries, sunflowers, and apples.
AgroSpheres – Controlled Release
Biopesticides offer a sustainable alternative to synthetic pesticides because they are biodegradable. However, harsh field conditions often degrade them before they exhibit their complete effects. While current methods provide quick action against pests, a sustained response may often be desirable. Solutions that encapsulate the active ingredient of a biopesticide protect it and ensure timely release. This ensures low levels of the biopesticide for longer durations.
The US-based startup AgroSpheres develops controlled release biopesticide solutions. Its proprietary AgriCell technology encapsulates, delivers, and sustainably releases the active ingredient in a controlled manner over a course of weeks. AgriCell Biologicals delivers ribonucleic acid interference (RNAi) pesticides with high efficacy and low production costs. The solution is compatible and complementary with other pest control methods and deploys well in integrated pest management (IPM) programs.
What About The Other 116 Solutions?
While we believe data is key to creating insights it can be easy to be overwhelmed by it. Our ambition is to create a comprehensive overview and provide actionable innovation intelligence so you can achieve your goals faster. The 5 biopesticide startups showcased above are promising examples out of 121 we analyzed for this article. To identify the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria, get in touch.