Green light for biopesticide development company’s expansion into Oz

Eden Research grapes day

Eden Research, the Milton Park, Oxfordshire-based company developing sustainable biopesticides and plastic-free formulation technology has received authorisation to sell its bio-fungicide in Australia for use on wine and table grapes.

Eden Research products are developed for use in global crop protection, animal health and consumer products industries. The latest bio-fungicide product is authorised and marketed under the trade name “NovellusTM”.

Grape with botrytisNovellus is used as a sustainable and residue-free solution for the common disease Botrytis cinerea, a fungal pathogen affecting many plant species, which causes an annual economic loss of more than $10 billion worldwide. It is a particularly prominent disease in grapes, significantly impacting crop yield and quality. The product, which is marketed as “Mevalone®” in Europe and Africa, has been approved by 11 other countries, including the top 3 wine producing countries worldwide.

Australia is a key market for Eden and its commercial partner Sipcam, which will distribute the product. Wine grapes make up an estimated 60.3% of Australian grape crop revenue, and in 2019, the country produced circa 12 million hectolitres of wine. This output makes Australia the 6th largest wine producer worldwide. The wider wine industry, including downstream operations and tourism activities, contributed $45.5 billion to the Australian economy in the same year.

The authorisation is yet another link between the UK and Australia in the wine supply chain. Australia is the second largest source of wine imports into the UK by volume and third largest by value. Of the Australian wine imported by the UK, 80% is shipped in bulk for bottling in the market. Australia is the top country of origin in the UK off- trade market, with twice the market share of its nearest competitors, France and Italy.

Australian grape growers have been faced with a declining choice when it comes to protecting against botrytis due to the phasing out of conventional chemical solutions. In June 2019, the EU maximum residue limit (MRL) for iprodione, a conventional synthetic chemical treatment for botrytis, reverted to 0.01mg/kg, which is effectively zero. As a result, wine producers in Australia that export to the EU have been forced to avoid the use of iprodione. Novellus will therefore provide Australian growers with a much-needed sustainable solution to the disease. The bio-fungicide is well-placed to meet the needs of growers within its authorised markets as it is highly efficacious and MRL-exempt, helping them to address consumer demand for quality produce free from chemical residues.

Sean Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Eden, said: “We are pleased to add another major wine producing country to the list of authorisations for our bio-fungicide. Australia’s grape growing industry is sizeable and well-regarded, and Novellus will provide farmers with an efficacious solution to protect against botrytis, contributing to the industry’s sustainable growth. The approval also represents a geographical expansion for our business, and we look forward to continuing our work with Sipcam to increase our activities in the region.”