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Grow Your Protection Toolbox: Put your Plants to Work Naturally

May 2, 2022

Effectively protecting crops isn’t easy, especially when the tools that have been available for decades are being lost through increased scrutiny, regulation or resistance. The tools available to growers in their crop protection toolbox are shrinking!

This fact has caused growers to diversify their crop protection inputs, including the integration of biopesticides with unique modes of action to achieve effective control each growing season.  

Among the most exciting and novel modes of action are Biological Plant Activators that induce Systemic Acquired Resistance (SAR). 

When disease organisms attack crops, the plant recognizes the invaders and engages genes that activate a complex series of internal biochemical processes, leading to defensive responses that combat disease spread. However, this is a reactive process: the plant only responds once it is under attack, and it is the disease organism’s recognition by the plant that turns on the plant’s defense mechanisms.

For Biological Plant Activators that induce SAR, it is the biological active ingredients in the products that turns on the plant’s defense mechanisms. By applying them before diseases strike, the plant’s defenses are engaged proactively. Then when disease organisms arrive, the plant is primed and ready to better ward off infection and disease spread, leading to reduced disease and better overall yield protection.   

Get a LifeGard®

Certis Biologicals’ LifeGard® WG (wettable granule) formulation was the first foliar-applied Biological Plant Activator introduced into the market in 2017, when it was named Top New Biological Product of the Year.

LifeGard WG contains live spores of the naturally-occurring bacterium Bacillus mycoides isolate J (BmJ). It is this bacterium that switches on the plant’s resistance genes to help fight disease and does so with no direct antagonistic effects to plant pathogens. Basically, LifeGard WG gives plants the ability to fight those threats themselves.

Interestingly, LifeGard induces the same genetic resistance pathway as the class of chemical SAR inducers known as benzothiadiazoles, but does so for longer periods and with a much lower risk of crop phytotoxicity.

LifeGard WG can be used alone, but use in a program approach (tank mix or alternated) with other labeled products is the best choice from an Integrated Pest Management standpoint. Since it has no direct effect on pathogens, a tank-mix with an effective curative or knockdown chemistry is needed to maximize effectiveness if diseases are already present at the time of application.

Double Down on Disease with Double Nickel®

The highly efficacious Double Nickel® biofungicide is another Certis product that boasts SAR qualities in its multiple modes of action.This product contains both live spores and antimicrobial fermentation metabolites of the soil bacterium Bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain D747. Since 2020, Double Nickel has been classified as a Fungicide Resistance Action Committee (FRAC) code BM 02, confirming its multiple modes of action.

In Double Nickel, the antimicrobial compounds produced in fermentation kill pathogenic bacteria and fungi on contact by destroying cell walls and membranes. The live bacteria in Double Nickel also colonize roots, flowers and other plant surfaces where applied, forming a barrier to infection and outcompeting pathogens while inducing the SAR response.  Exudates produced by the colonizing bacteria are also antimicrobial. The various modes of action work in tandem to combat disease pests, promote plant growth and maximize yield performance. 

Double Nickel comes in both a convenient liquid (Double Nickel LC) and wettable granule (Double Nickel 55) formulation and both fit well into IPM programs on conventional and organic crops.  

Did you know….?

Bacillus amyloliquefaciens strain D747, the active bacterium in Double Nickel, is also a component of FMC’s Ethos® XB product for soil application in-furrow at planting in corn and soybeans?

At Certis Biologicals, through our legacy of leadership in the development, manufacturing and marketing of biopesticides, we have seen the power that nature can have in achieving effective crop protection tools that work uniquely and effectively to add value while enhancing sustainability. Help your plants fight the good fight. Naturally.

**Ethos XB is a registered trademark of FMC Corporation.

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