- Pangaea Biosciences Ltd is working on reducing harmful surfactants and replacing them with purely plant-based ingredients in crop protection products
For some chemistry, the level of surfactants is being reduced radically by around 75% and other products are being developed with total plant-based surfactants, with no loss of efficacy.
These unique formulations with plant-based surfactants have been patented in sixty-five different countries to date. The target is to launch the first of these special formulations in the UK, EU, South East Asia and Australia.
“Many crop protection products have high levels of harmful surfactants which can have negative effects on humans and the environment, especially as most of products sprayed in the field largely end up in the soil and not on the target plant themselves. Surfactants (‘soaps’) are used to help active ingredients in agrochemical products get onto and into the target species, however the ones used in crop spraying kill bacteria and fungi in the soil, reducing fertility and soil health.
Farmers want to avoid negative environmental impacts which may harm their soil structure and health in the long term. Pangaea Biosciences have responded to this yet unmet need by being the first to develop unique very low surfactant formulations that preserve soil health and biodiversity, reduce environmental and human toxicity, and lessen chemical usage. These new formulations reduce the levels of harmful surfactants by around 75% or in some cases replace them entirely with wholly plant-based surfactants, whilst maintaining good results in the field,” explains John Edmonds, global product development and regulatory manager for PangaeabioSciences.
The plant-based surfactants are made up of pectins and alginates, which are sustainably sourced and approved as food safe by the USEnvironmental Protection Agency. The active ingredient is suspended in a special matrix of pectins and alginates and this allows the chemistry to be released over time and work with no loss of activity, whilst preserving soil health, biodiversity, reducing environmental and human toxicity.
This patented technology has already been developed in several widely used products. The innovative technology also allows significantly reduced dose rate application, lessening chemical loading as well as limiting harmful surfactants. The new formulations improve the stickability of the product on the leaf and penetration into the plant. This results in better rainfastness and much less active ingredient reaching the soil (as is the case with many agrochemicals applications).
“This innovative technology which has been patented by Pangaea has been widely trialed globally. We have nearly 150 replicated GLP efficacy trials over the seasons 2021, 2022 and 2023. The trials `registration is split into 3 EU registration zone areas-: the South zone (France, Italy. Spain, Portugal, Malta, Greece), the Central zone (UK, Germany, France, Eire, Netherlands, Belgium) and the North zone (the Baltics, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark),” says John. “This means a huge investment in efficacy trials for a comprehensive new product label for registration and launch and means an investment of 150 replicated trials over the 3 zones and it demonstrates the commitment of Pangaea Biosciences in this new product development and registrations.”
“PAN042 is a novel new formulation of the very popular glyphosate herbicide being developed by Pangaea Biosciences. In trials our flagship formulation was assessed on different weed species and at 75% rates of conventional chemistry and it gave equal or better control, depending on weed species and size, plus better weed regrowth. This indicates how well the new chemistry works and how farmers would be able to reduce the amount of active ingredients used on farm.”
Pangaea is building a range of products containing active ingredients (herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides) with the pectin and alginate complexes replacing surfactants. “We anticipate this new technology hitting the market in one- or two-year’s time. Our target is to launch the first of these special formulations in the UK, EU, and Australia. We feel sure that farmers will benefit enormously from reduced dose rates of the most widely used chemistry on the farm. This is the positive way forward,” says Mr. Edmonds.