45% of the company’s staff is made up of research staff.
Research, development and innovation (R&D+I)
Since Futureco Bioscience was founded in 1993, the R&D&I Department has been researching and developing products based on natural extracts and microbial agents with biostimulant or biopesticide activity.
The R&D department has a high screening capacity to select biostimulant microorganisms for plant biological functions, or microorganisms with biopesticidal activity (CBAs) for the control of fungi (biofungicides), bacteria (biobactericides), insects (bioinsecticides) or pathogenic nematodes (bionematicides), both in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo.
More than 1,500 in vitro bioassays and 200 ex vivo bioassays are conducted annually, selecting the most effective and innovative active ingredients and CBAs. In addition, around 300 in vivo (in-plant) bioassays are carried out annually in climatic chamber or greenhouse conditions, where both the selected active ingredients and their formulations are evaluated and validated. This capability makes Futureco Bioscience one of the most active companies worldwide in the development of biostimulants and biopesticides.
Today, as a result of investment in R&D+I, 45% of the company’s staff is made up of research staff.
The department’s main lines of research are:
Futureco Bioscience has its own collection of more than 3000 fungi and bacteria. After their identification and molecular characterisation, their efficacy as biocontrol agents on different targets (pests, nematodes, fungi and phytopathogenic bacteria) or their biostimulant action (anti-salt/hydric stress, phytoremediation, “rebalancing” of biogeochemical cycles (N, P, C…), and rooting, among others) is evaluated.
Identification of organic compounds of microbial origin (protein compounds and peptides), with potential activity in pathogen control or as biostimulants. The aim is to identify micro-organisms producing bioactive compounds of interest in order to add value to new formulations.
Of particular interest are those with an antimicrobial or insecticidal effect. Extracts are selected from the best quality sources and, after formulation, evaluated against different targets using a proprietary standardised system.
Formulations based on multicellular brown algae (Phaeophyceae) of the order Fucales (Ascophyllum nudosum) and Laminariales (Laminaria digita, Eklonia maxima), or unicellular cyanobacteria grouped in colonies (Spirulina pratensis) with the aim of developing new formulations that allow the crop to overcome different abiotic stresses.
Antimicrobial peptides produced by fungi described in the literature or worked from the microorganisms included in the Futureco Bioscience Collection. Prototypes based on peptides with nematicidal activity selected from by-products of the agri-food industry are also being evaluated.
RNA interference (RNAi)-based biopesticides: a defence system of eukaryotic organisms against exogenous RNA. This technology can be used to knock down the expression of any gene of interest. Thus, an RNAi-based biopesticide can inactivate specific genes of the pathogen or any target organism.
R&D+I projectsBetween 1999 (date of foundation of the R&D+I Department) and 2018, the The main projects developed or in progress are:
NOFLYInternal Project: Development of the bioinsecticide NOFLY based on the entomopathogenic fungus Paecilomyces fumosoroseus strain F9901 for whitefly control. This project resulted in Futureco Bioscience’s first commercial bioinsecticide for the control of whitefly and thrips, now registered in 15 countries and under registration in 7 more.
CDTI project: Development of a bioinsecticide based on the fungus Metarrhizium anisopliae strain TF251 for the control of the black banana weevil. Five were sampled from the Canary Islands and 48 strains of Metarrhizium were isolated. The selected strain (TF251) was characterised and a formulated prototype (WP) was designed. Its efficacy was evaluated under laboratory, semi-field and field conditions. Strain TF251 is available for further development.
NONEMCIDEM project: Preliminary development of a new nematicide for the biological control of phytonematodes based on a bacterial strain (confidential). This research project laid the groundwork for the development of future bionematicides also formulated from bacteria (and which have led to the bionematicides currently available in the pipeline strains B410, B25 and B24).
MICROSAFECDTI project: Preliminary development of a biofungicide and bactericide for the control of Rhizoctonia and Sclerotinia fungi and Erwinia bacteria in potato, lettuce and tomato crops, respectively. Bacteria B2017 (Pseudomonas putida) and B2021 (P. azotoformans) were isolated during this project. In the year 2014-2021, the required studies for its registration as a biofungicide-biobactericide including other fungi and bacteria of commercial interest have been carried out.
ENZYTECHCIDEM Project. Development of Enzymatic Technologies (of microbial origin) from plant by-products from the agri-food industry to obtain bioactive molecules with low-risk biostimulant and/or phytosanitary action. Different protein hydrolysates with high nematicidal activity (Meloidogyne) were identified in cucumber and tomato crops.
INNOLIVARLicitation UCO and Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (FEDER Funds). Development of a bioinsecticide based on the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium brunneum strain EAMb 09/01-Su (isolated by the Applied Entomology group of the University of Cordoba) for the control of the olive fruit fly. The project consisted of strain characterisation, design of formulated prototypes, field evaluation and soil persistence studies using molecular markers.
PALVIPINTERREG-POCTEFA project (FEDER funds). Collaborative project in which Futureco Bioscience participated producing 2 microbial biofungicides (B2017 and B2021) and a botanical extract (BESTCURE) which were evaluated for the control of downy mildew, powdery mildew and Botrytis in grapevine and Moniliosis in stone fruit trees under field conditions (in Spain and France).
FUTUROMICSInternal project. Evaluation of the effect of different commercial (e.g. Bioradicant, Radisan, Fitomaat, Hydromaat, Cromaliv, Ultra V, among others) and experimental (B2017OD, B25OD, B24OD etc) products on different crops using molecular transcriptomics techniques that allow simultaneous evaluation of the expression levels of multiple genes in a given tissue at a specific time.
EcolettersPublications that demonstrate the efficacy, quality and safety of Futureco Bioscience products.
ArticlesPublished in specialized journals, with which the R&D Department of Futureco Bioscience contributes to the advancement of agrobiotechnology and the scientific community that allows it to grow and expand.