Why Botanical?

Discovering the Secret Life of Plants

Nothing is more potentially robust in the face of disease than a well-functioning, internal immune system. Through evolution, plants develop efficient molecules which cannot be synthesized by conventional chemistry. That’s why identifying a plant that is naturally defiant to pests and fungi poses interesting potential for protecting the growth of other crops.

Plants produce numerous chemicals for defense and communication and can prompt their own form of chemical control against pests and pathogens. The exploitation of these chemicals for the protection of crops from pests and pathogens is probably as old as organized agriculture itself.  The use of plant materials, crude plant extracts and isolated phytochemicals – the biologically active compounds found in plants – have traditionally been employed by farmers throughout the millennia and around the globe.

Botanical-Based Research The Next Wave of Biologicals

Today’s botanical-based biopesticides are derived from naturally occurring properties in plants and algae and applied in a form of either extracts or isolated molecules. With each new research and development project, the STK R&D team endeavors to verify:

 

  • Can we successfully identify a specific chemical agent on a molecular level and recognize its mode of action?
  • Can these natural chemicals be isolated, harvested and transformed into a commercial grade application?
  • And if so – will a formulation sprayed externally on a “foreign” plant produce the same type of disease resistance and behave the same way as it does within the internal immune system of the plant from which it is sourced?

Botanical-Based Research The Next Wave of Biologicals

Today’s botanical-based biopesticides are derived from naturally occurring properties in plants and algae and applied in a form of either extracts or isolated molecules. With each new research and development project, the STK R&D team endeavors to verify:

 

  • Can we successfully identify a specific chemical agent on a molecular level and recognize its mode of action?
  • Can these natural chemicals be isolated, harvested and transformed into a commercial grade application?
  • And if so – will a formulation sprayed externally on a “foreign” plant produce the same type of disease resistance and behave the same way as it does within the internal immune system of the plant from which it is sourced?

STK-R&D

Guided by Nature, Perfected through Science

 

STK’s current R&D efforts focus on the discovery of single new molecules with IP potential. Molecules that present both extrinsic and intrinsic potential are more likely to advance through the process and be developed into a commercial-grade formulation. STK utilizes a mechanized efficacy screening system in conjunction with state-of-the-art genomic tools (through various biotech collaborations, including the Weizmann Institute) to screen for extrinsic and intrinsic properties in parallel.

 

The metabolic information we gather is used to understand the interaction between the molecule and the plant; for understanding its mechanism; for Tox Data generation; and for optimizing food production.

commitment

Proprietary Portfolio

STK’s successful, ongoing foray into botanical research, coupled with the application of cutting-edge bioag technology, has led to the creation of a portfolio of next generation, proprietary botanical-based solutions. Spearheaded by the multi award-winning Timorex Gold® – the flagship of our fleet which has proven to be an effective solution in the prevention and cure of a broad spectrum of diseases in multiple crops – STK continues to expand its range for additional target pathogens and crops that enable farmers to achieve higher yields with improved quality while significantly reducing environmental impact.

Proprietary Portfolio

STK’s successful, ongoing foray into botanical research, coupled with the application of cutting-edge bioag technology, has led to the creation of a portfolio of next generation, proprietary botanical-based solutions. Spearheaded by the multi award-winning Timorex Gold® – the flagship of our fleet which has proven to be an effective solution in the prevention and cure of a broad spectrum of diseases in multiple crops – STK continues to expand its range for additional target pathogens and crops that enable farmers to achieve higher yields with improved quality while significantly reducing environmental impact.

headphone CONTACT US
  • Thank you for your interest in STK bio-ag technologies!

    We are pleased to answer your questions about our company and our products. Kindly use this form if you have any questions or need further information about our products and we’ll get back to you very soon.

Combining the powers of biological agents and synthetic chemistries

As a leader in biopesticides innovation, STK Bio-ag Technologies (formerly Stockton) is pioneering a new generation of ‘hybrid pest control’ products that combine the powers of biological agents and synthetic chemistries, and which may present a new era in pest control. With recent partnership agreements with industry giants such as BASF, Syngenta and Seipasa, this seemed like a great time for Chemicals Knowledge to catch up with STK’s Chief Scientist, Professor Moshe Reuveni. STK seems to be in a great place right now! How have the values and mission of the company led you here? STK was founded and is headquartered in Israel, the ‘innovation nation’! Innovation and sustainable agriculture are in our DNA, and we are committed to the values of sustainable agriculture – from field to fork. This stems from our main mission to provide premium, highly effective products, with low chemical residues and novel and unique mechanisms of action (MOA). We also aim to provide additional yield benefits, and to ensure that our products are flexible and easy to apply, and chemically compatible with many other active ingredients. What are the main benefits of biopesticides? There are many advantages. Biopesticides come from nature – they may be plant extracts, like Timorex Gold, which effectively ruptures pathogen cells (Figure 1), or bacteriological, like Aviv, a powerful Bacillus subtilis requiring less than half the dosage of other biopesticides. In any case, biopesticides contain no synthetic chemicals. They are produced from renewable sources, and they leave minimal crop residue, making crops treated with biopesticides much more competitive in domestic and international markets. Regulators, consumers and retail supermarkets all want to reduce the chemical residue on their produce. The selectivity of biopesticides, which target only their natural enemies, also helps to maintain beneficial insect and mite populations, ensure worker safety and promote environmental safety. Today’s biopesticides are as effective – or even more effective – than synthetic chemical pesticides, in terms of crop protection and increasing yields. Furthermore, biopesticides are an important weapon in managing pesticide resistance. They can help reduce the selection pressure for the evolution of resistance to synthetic pesticides, and the risk of pests and pathogens developing resistance to biopesticides is low, especially as these agents often have multiple modes of action. Switzerland recently announced that it is considering a total ban of synthetic pesticides – do you think it is feasible to have a world free of synthetics? The world’s population is expected to grow from the current 7 billion people to 9 billion people by 2050. In order to feed all of these people and avoid mass starvation, mankind will need to double crop yields globally. This is a tall order, and to achieve this, growers will need effective tools for combating diseases – we think this will need to include biopesticides and synthetic chemical pesticides; or hybrid technologies that combine the two. The use of biopesticides is forecast to grow by 15% to 20% annually for the foreseeable future, while synthetic chemical use is predicted to grow at a slower annual rate of 3%. If those growth rates are maintained, eventually we will be in a situation where more biopesticides than synthetic pesticides are being used. We think this will be a good situation to be in, for the many reasons discussed above, but we still see a continued need for good synthetic pesticides. Can you tell us more about ‘hybrid’ technologies and how they expect to encourage uptake of biological agents? STK has introduced the world’s first ‘hybrid’ pesticide, Regev – the ‘pre-mix’ of a synthetic pesticide with a botanical-based biopesticide. Specifically, it combined a Tea Tree botanical extract and difenoconazole in an easy-to-use formulation. The combination of a natural product with broad-spectrum activity and a traditional site-specific synthetic provides growers with the different modes of action of a botanical-based active ingredient and an effective chemical pesticide. The hybrid combination results in a reduced synthetic chemical load on the environment, compared with other traditional mixtures based on two synthetic chemicals. Regev is an effective and unique tool for resistance management, and it is clearly suitable for Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs. This product is also a bridge for growers who have never previously tried a biopesticide. These growers can use Regev in exactly the same way as their current chemical pesticide: no mixing, no rotating, easy-to-use… and with the benefits of lowering chemical residues, improved resistance management and yield growth. Regev will accelerate the uptake of biological products by making it easy. Historically, biopesticides have been used largely on high-value crops, such as fruits and vegetables, but hybrids like Regev are not only being used on fruits and vegetables, but have proven to be a cost-effective approach for row crops like soy beans, and field and broad acre crops like corn. Regev is already being used in 10 countries throughout Latin America, Israel, Serbia and the Philippines. Plans for 2019 call for the global rollout of REGEV. How are you working with global majors to encourage global distribution of these technologies? To accelerate the distribution of STK’s biological technologies for sustainable agriculture, we have entered into partnerships with various companies . In Brazil, Timorex Gold botanical-based biofungicide is co-distributed by both STK and BASF, which is proving to be very effective in this very large country. In the US, Aviv, our low-dose Bacillus subtilis biofungicide, is distributed by Syngenta. Not all of our distributors are the global majors, and STK is always open to partnerships with companies large, medium and small. What’s next for STK? Beyond the continuing geographic distribution of Timorex Gold, Regev and Aviv, STK has a powerful pipeline of new biological products to provide new tools to help growers reach the goal of doubling their yields by 2050. This pipeline includes new biopesticides based either on powerful natural plant molecules or plant extracts to be used as bio-fungicides or bio-insecticides. In addition, new hybrids combining natural active ingredients and reliable synthetic active chemicals, to be used on wide range of crops and pathogens, are under development. Interview with: Professor Moshe Reuveni, Chief Scientist at STK bio-ag technologies, Ha’Mefalsim St 17, POB 3517, Petach Tikva 4951447, Israel