Optimizing Microbial Bioformulations: Addressing Barriers in Stability and Performance

Microbial products are based on living microbes, either a single species, a mixture of selected species or a complex consortium. The robustness of microbes varies highly between species and strains. Consequently, maintaining the microbial population and efficacy in distribution and storage can be challenging. 

One of the objectives of bioformulation development is to find the right balance between keeping the microbes alive and avoiding rapid growth or death. Discovering the most suitable formulation type for a product is also demanding, but crucial to enhancing the stability, shelf life and performance of microorganisms in field conditions. 


Formulation and Additive Challenges in Microbial Formulation 

Like conventional agrochemicals, microbial products can be formulated as solids or liquids. The choice depends on the intended application mode, the microorganism’s mode of action, compatibility with other components, and, foremost, the stability of the microbe’s active ingredient (AI). 

Microorganisms can face different challenges when applied as seed treatment, foliar or directly into the soil. In this case, the selection of additives to add to the formulation is essential for the microorganism’s survivability and efficacy. Additives are needed to protect against adverse environmental conditions such as desiccation, UV light and wash-off, as well as to guarantee good performance and quality of the formulation. Nevertheless, co-formulants and adjuvants commonly used in conventional agrochemical formulations are not always compatible with microbes, compliant with desired markets, or safe. Despite the evident shift in the range of additives being offered to the biological market, there is still a need for more alternatives, especially options that comply with the requirements of certain markets and avoid high costs for the final product. 


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Equipment Compatibility  

Other challenges include equipment compatibility and packaging. Farmers often need to use the same application equipment as conventional products. Consequently, chemical compatibility and specific physical properties might be required for the microbial product. The choice of formulation type and technology is key to solving any potential incompatibility. Gas production by the microorganism or need for water exchange may affect pack selection and/or requirements. 


Battelle's Innovative Solutions for Microbial Formulation Stability 

Formulation development of a microbial product can be a complex process; however, it is essential to obtain a commercially viable, cost-effective product and to not jeopardize the sector’s reputation. Battelle invests in internal R&D to provide solutions to common problems faced by our clients. Our current R&D includes microbial compatibility testing, liquid formulation design, exploring seed stickers to replace polymers, developing encapsulation technologies for better compatibility with AIs and ensuring stability in both liquid form and on-seed. 


The Battelle Advantage 

Battelle Crop Protection Solutions offers complete turn-key solutions for the entire development and regulatory process of biologicals, including bioformulation development, modelling, GLP product safety testing and regulatory consultancy. 

Battelle has a longstanding reputation in the U.S. and Europe for being a trusted partner for formulating successful regulatory compliance strategies. Besides assisting with bioformulation development, Battelle supports our clients with their registration process for both biopesticides and biostimulants. 

We provide innovative full-scale registration and re-registration support, as well as expert advice on dossier compilation for conventional crop protection products and biologicals.  

Our end-to-end solutions approach enables us to provide support to our clients throughout the entire process, from the lab to the market. Battelle operates with an agile method, which speeds up bioformulation development and the winding registration processes. 

For more information about Battelle’s experience and end-to-end solutions, or how we can help you along the entire process for conventional and biological crop protection products, please contact Dominik Reinhard at [email protected]

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October 04, 2023
Battelle Insider
Estimated Read Time
3 Mins

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