SOURCE: AgraQuest

AgraQuest

January 04, 2010 19:57 ET

AgraQuest Introduces Valuable New Soil Fungicide for Early Season Disease Control in Potatoes and Other Crops

SERENADE® SOIL Fungicide to Provide Growers With Unique Solution to Improve Profitability

DAVIS, CA--(Marketwire - January 4, 2010) - AgraQuest Inc. announced today the launch of SERENADE SOIL, the first soil fungicide based on its patented active ingredient Bacillus subtilis strain QST 713. In 2010, SERENADE SOIL fungicide will be available in the U.S. for growers needing protection against profit-robbing soil diseases such as Rhizoctonia, Fusarium, Pythium and Phytophthora in potatoes, tomatoes and cucurbits.

Applied at planting, SERENADE SOIL quickly builds a disease protection zone around the seed. As the seedling grows, the beneficial bacteria in SERENADE SOIL continue to grow, attaching themselves to the roots of the plant, expanding the disease protection zone, resulting in higher-yielding fields and better quality fruits and vegetables.

"Proven over the past several years in numerous lab studies, field trials and large-scale grower demos, SERENADE SOIL delivers on our commitment to bring growers unique tools that deliver on AgraQuest's promises: performance, flexibility and value," said Ashish Malik, Senior Vice President of Global Marketing.

Three years of investigation have demonstrated that plants treated with SERENADE SOIL fungicide are stronger, healthier, and are shown to deliver average yield increases of two to four tons of potatoes per acre. The strong yield results delivered by SERENADE SOIL are based on the diverse and unique activities of the B. subtilis strain QST 713 in the soil.

When SERENADE SOIL is applied at planting, the beneficial bacteria quickly attack soil diseases, while rapidly colonizing the seedling and root. Once colonized, the bacteria produce compounds that not only continue attacking soil diseases, but also trigger metabolic pathways to activate the plant's natural defenses and modulate growth.

Products based on AgraQuest's patented B. subtilis strain QST 713 have been protecting crops from foliar diseases for nearly a decade, since the first SERENADE product was introduced in the U.S. in 2000. Registrations have been obtained in more than 26 countries, including several countries in the European Union, Latin America, Japan and Canada. SERENADE SOIL fungicide is the first product in the SERENADE line designed and tested for use in the soil. In April 2009, AgraQuest announced a license, supply and distribution agreement with BASF for SERENADE for agriculture applications outside of NAFTA.

"We see such dramatic yield and quality effects because SERENADE SOIL brings so many distinct modes of action to the battle," said Malik. "And, as with other products in the family like SERENADE ASO and SERENADE MAX, growers who use SERENADE SOIL can count on its ease of use with 4-hour REIs, broad tank-mix compatibility, and exemption from residue tolerances."

Investment in new products like SERENADE SOIL are part of the $130 million spent by AgraQuest on research and development designed to revolutionize the way we produce food globally.

About AgraQuest, Inc.

AgraQuest is a biotechnology company that focuses on discovering, developing, manufacturing and marketing highly effective pest management products for agricultural, institutional and home markets. As a leader in the emerging low chem sector, AgraQuest works to provide growers with solutions that offer best in class control while reducing the chemical load on the environment. The Agrochemical division of AgraQuest offers a global portfolio of products -- recognized as safer to beneficials, workers, and the environment -- that includes SERENADE®, SERENADE® Garden, RHAPSODY®, SONATA® and BALLAD® fungicides and BARITONE® and REQUIEM® insecticides. AgraQuest's BioInnovations division provides the company an avenue to take biological and low-chemical technology created for the agriculture industry and discover innovative uses for it in related markets. The BioInnovations division identifies both appropriate market segments and opportunities for AgraQuest's intellectual property, while seeking industry leaders in ancillary markets to partner in the commercialization and distribution process. AgraQuest has received several environmental awards including the Presidential Green Chemistry Award from the U.S. EPA for the discovery and commercialization of SERENADE. For more information visit www.agraquest.com.