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Biostimulants: the future of smart agriculture

Through the application of biotechnologies an essential contribution can be made to safety, genuineness and quality of the productions

The market for biostimulants and biopharmaceuticals is a strongly growing market, which from 2016 to today has seen an annual increase of 12-15%, showing important signs of continuous growth also for the near future.

The need to reduce the use of chemicals and to compensate for situations of stress caused to plants by the increasingly frequent vagaries of the climate has led, on the one hand, farmers to open up more and more to new types of products and industry, from other, to organize themselves to produce and offer effective products based on microorganisms and natural extracts on the market.

Clever Bioscience is a pioneer industry in this field, which in Broni Stradella (Pv) has built a plant specifically dedicated to the production of new generation biostimulants and biopharmaceuticals suitably formulated and manufactured for the defense of plants and foodstuffs.

For years engaged in the development of totally green innovative products, with a view to reducing the chemical impact in the defense of crops through the application of biotechnologies, Clever Bioscience is aimed at a transversal market that particularly embraces the agro-industry sector.

The plant will provide an essential contribution to the safety, genuineness and quality of agri-food production from a Green Deal and Farm to Fork perspective, through the use of innovative technologies such as molecular biology, microbiology and biocatalysis, creating formulations and products that are totally harmless for man, animals and the environment.

Beware of temperatures

“The design of the plant represented a fundamental step for the production of biostimulants” – explains the CEO of Clever Bioscience, Giorgio Freschi -. In fact, if for traditional plants for the production of chemical products it is normal to operate at high temperatures, in our case this was not possible working with live microorganisms, but it was necessary to study a process where 30 ° C and 50-60 ° C were not exceeded. ° C for biostimulants, allowing, in the latter case, the enzymes to remain active and the formulations to maintain the percentage of active substance over time “.

Starting from a technology already tested in the agri-food sector, it was modified, based on a customized engineering design by Clever technicians, to allow fermentation in solid and liquid phase that are the basis of formulations based on microorganisms and natural extracts.
«All the liquid or solid formulations we produce must be made in mitigated conditions, at low temperatures and in the absence of thermal stress – says Freschi. – In the case of products based on solid microorganisms in granules, in particular, it is necessary to go through a drying process. Unlike traditional systems that operate at high temperatures, our system exploits the thermal delta created by the system, combined with appropriate ventilation of the cells, thus allowing microorganisms to be kept alive “.

Careful processing

It is therefore a more gradual and longer process than the production systems of traditional products, with a productivity that does not exceed 500 kg / hour. At the same time, even the production of the pasta that is extruded to produce water-dispersible granules takes place in such a way as to avoid stress to the microorganisms, with a slow and delicate action that does not produce heat in total respect of the microorganisms.

The same regard in the processing of the product is at the basis of the production of liquid formulations, where the work area is sanitized at temperatures never exceeding 60-80 ° C with a sort of pasteurization process followed by a rapid lowering of the temperature up to environmental values.

“Both processes have the common goal of obtaining products that are stable over time and characterized by an adequate concentration of active ingredient – explains Freschi – so that it is possible to intelligently develop new integrated control strategies that allow farmers to produce in a healthy way, with high nutritional values, without or with a reduced use of conventional agropharmaceuticals from a Farm to Fork perspective ».

“Green” protection

“Clever’s action is aimed at achieving all this to demonstrate that green protection of our crops is now possible. The company has already added a dozen bioactive products to the European market to be used in agriculture for biocontrol and as biostimulants and fertilizers – continues Freschi -. The use of Clever products also allows for better assimilation of organic and inorganic fertilizers, favoring their assimilation, reinvigorating and repopulating the microbial flora present in the soil. This is a very important aspect also following the significant increase in the price of these products “,

Clever Bioscience offers its customers a full service, ranging from the development of active substances such as microorganisms, active peptides and new formulation technologies, to the positioning of these smart products in the world market of bio-pesticides, biostimulants and fertilizers. The new plant has already started the production of biostimulants which are therefore already available on the market.