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Wine grapes
File photo.

Federal EPA registers Stargus biofungicide from Marrone Bio Innovations

Stargus, an effective new biofungicide from Marrone Bio Innovations (MBI) for controlling downy mildews and white molds, has been registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Stargus is the sixth product commercialized by MBI in 11 years.

The product is based on a new strain of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens discovered by MBI which will also target Botrytis gray mold, bunch rot, plus pathogenic soil fungi including the diseases Fusarium and Rhizoctonia.

The biofungicide will focus on specialty crops including grapes and leafy greens; plus root and bulb vegetables including potatoes, carrots, and onions.

The company hopes for a state registration in Arizona by year's end 2017, and a California registration by the second or third quarter of 2018.

Stargus is complementary and additive to the broad spectrum of diseases covered by MBI’s first biofungicide Regalia, providing a “solid one-two punch” to a broad spectrum of plant pathogens.

MBI and partners also are testing this Bacillus-based product for seed treatment applications.

The company says new solutions for downy mildews were badly needed so its scientists set out to find one. The screening platform group tested more than 16,000 microbes against important plant pathogens and discovered this novel candidate with a broad spectrum of performance and stand-out activity against downy mildews, Botrytis gray mold/bunch rots, and white molds.

Tests conducted at MBI’s research and development lab suggests that Stargus works by colonizing plant root hairs, leaves, and other plant surfaces which prevents the establishment of fungal and bacterial pathogens, including Fusarium, Sclerotinia, Botrytis, Rhizoctonia, and Sclerotium.

Additional R&D indicates that the bacterium also produces natural compounds, some of which inhibit bacterial and fungal mycelial growth, plus spore germination.

In addition, the bacteria trigger systemic acquired resistance and induced systemic responses in the plant, creating a healthier and stronger plant to ward off diseases and increase growth and yield.

MBI has been issued a patent on the novel strain used in Stargus.

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