BASF Launches UK Beneficial Nematodes Site

12.01.2016 -

Germany’s BASF has launched what it says is the world’s largest site for producing beneficial nematodes, microscopic organisms that can control a diverse range of insect and slug pests, at Littlehampton, England.

The expanded facility formerly belonged to Becker Underwood, the UK biological spray and seed coating business acquired by the Ludwigshafen group in 2012 for just over $1 billion.

Shortly after the acquisition, BASF founded Functional Crop Care, adding Becker Underwood technologies to its portfolio. It also relaunched the British company’s research, formulation and distribution plant at Somersby in New South Wales as its new Australian agrochemical base.

Philipp Rosendorfer, BASF Functional Crop Care R&D vice-president, said the German chemical giant is strengthening its ability to sustainably meet the growing global demand for biological solutions for agriculture and horticulture.

The investment at Littlehampton, which doubles production volumes of beneficial nematodes and raises capacity for inoculants – rhizobia bacteria that, in a symbiotic relationship with their host legume plants produce root nodules to conduct nitrogen fixation – is part of a strategy to develop solutions beyond conventional crop protection, Rosendorfer added.

BASF has six different types of beneficial nematodes in its product portfolio, each with a distinctive mode of action, for customers in vegetable, horticulture, and turf. Demand has increased significantly over the past five years, with 2014 the best year to date, the group said.