Marrone Bio Innovations Inc. is seeking U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approval for a biologically based weed control product, which could bring the Davis-based company into a large new market.
Marrone (Nasdaq: MBII) currently has approved products on the market that act as insecticides and fungicides. The company’s biologically based products are offered as alternatives to chemical pesticides.
The new product, called MBI-014, would be Marrone Bio’s first foray into commercial weed control, which is a major problem for agriculture, and one that is currently handled either by chemicals or by manual labor.
“Weed control is the No. 1 thing that people have been asking us for,” said Pam Marrone, CEO and founder of the company.
MBI-014 is the third substance the company has attempted to develop for weed control. The other two turned out to be too expensive to bring to market, Marrone said.
Marrone Bio said Monday that it’s submitted a registration package to the EPA for MBI-014.
The bioherbicide is derived from a new species of heat-killed bacteria, Burkholderia rinojensis, strain A396. Marrone Bio Innovations’ bioinsecticide products Majestene and Venerate also use different products of the A396 strain of Burkholderia.
“This is a very talented microbe,” Marrone said.
Marrone Bio’s revenue grew 85.4 percent over the three years ending 2017, which was enough for it to be ranked 15th last week on the Business Journal’s list of Fastest-Growing Companies. Marrone Bio had $18.3 million in revenue last year.
“We are excited about what we have seen so far in the development of MBI-014,” said Amit Vasavada, chief technology officer at Marrone Bio, in a news release. “We do have more work to do in order to determine such things as appropriate doses on key target weeds, water volume required, adjuvant package needed and further expansion of the spectrum of targeted weeds.”