New BASF biological fungicide offers flexibility in grape and strawberry disease management | CropSolutions Australia

New BASF biological fungicide offers flexibility in grape and strawberry disease management

- Serifel® uses naturally-occurring bacteria to create a shield of protection against botrytis on grapes and strawberries

- The most concentrated biological fungicide on the market

- Lower application rates and minimal spray deposits at harvest

- Approved for organic certification

Melbourne, Australia – June 24, 2019 – Serifel® Biofungicide has been approved by relevant regulatory bodies for use in grapes and strawberries in Australia.

“Serifel offers growers an innovative biological alternative to chemical solutions for botrytis control,” said Will Huynh, Functional Crop Care Manager at BASF. “This launch is a clear step forward for biological crop protection and the first stage in our expansion of BASF Australia’s portfolio of biological products”.

Unlike other biological botrytis solutions, Serifel is a pure spore formulation made up of viable spores of a bacillus: Bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain MBI600.

The spores prevent and control botrytis infection in three ways. First, after application, the spores quickly multiply and colonise the plant surface. Second, they occupy the space botrytis spores might otherwise land on, and deplete nutrients that the disease would need to feed on. Third, once multiplied on the plant surface, the Serifel spores also form antifungal metabolites; if botrytis spores are present, those metabolites disrupt their cell formation.

The pure spore formulation makes Serifel the most concentrated biological fungicide on the market, providing effective disease protection at low application rates that – in contrast to other products – does not create any off-putting odour. Another feature of the product is that it leaves minimal deposits on the fruit.

“Although it can be used throughout the season, we expect growers to find Serifel especially valuable around harvest time,” added Huynh. “With no withholding period, table grape and strawberry growers can protect their fruit right through to picking without compromising the appeal of the harvested crop”.

An added advantage of Serifel is that its spores are extremely stable and adaptable to varying environmental conditions. They are more rain fast than competitive biological products and remain productive over a wider temperature range, with no special handling or storage requirements.

Serifel builds on the biological heritage of BASF’s soil inoculant range as the company continues to expand and diversify its portfolio of crop protection and yield-building products. Serifel Biofungicide has been approved for organic certification.

Both the introduction of more biologicals and softer, more targeted chemical solutions will help growers with resistance management and progressively reduce environmental impact.

BASF has a pipeline of around 20 new agricultural solutions to be launched in Australia over the next five years, investing around €507 million (over $800 million) on crop protection research globally each year. In 2015, BASF established its Agricultural Solutions Research Farm in Tamworth, with the aim of testing and identifying suitable products for Australian conditions.  


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