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Seeing the benefits of biofungicides

A look at biological crop protection


Growers continue to adapt to the ever-changing world around them and are seeking ways to preserve the effectiveness of their pest control tools. One of these ways can be found in the power of biological crop protection, including biofungicides and bioinsecticides.


Understanding biologicals


Looking specifically at biofungicides, these products have proven to help reduce the damage caused by diseases and pests including fungi and disease-causing bacteria.


Many of the microorganisms that make up biofungicides are naturally occurring in soils. These microorganisms are isolated and enhanced to provide growers with a new tool for their disease management plans that differ from conventional products.


While the use of biofungicides has become common practice for some growers, they remain mysterious to others. “Adding a new product to your management systems can be intimidating,” said Mila Pearce, BASF Specialty Crop Product Manager, “Once growers learn more about specific biologicals, it’s easy for them to see the benefit.”


Pearce recommends using a biological fungicide, such as Serifel® biofungicide. Serifel forms a shield of protection around the plant, providing broad-spectrum disease control with multiple modes of action.


Withstanding the heat


A key benefit of biologicals is their heat tolerance. Biologicals are especially helpful for growers in warmer climates. The bacteria in biological products can withstand temperatures between 50 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit and work optimally between 65 and 95 degrees.


Pushing it to the limits


Knowing the heartiness of biologicals’ bacteria in terms of heat tolerance, BASF pushed the limits on product UV light tolerance.


“In our research, we found that our biological was able to withstand conditions that you would find at the equator,” said Pearce. “When tested, Serifel biofungicide still functioned after spending seven days in intense UV light.”


“While these conditions are not typical for the everyday farmer, growers need to know that they’re using a product that is qualified for their fields,” said Pearce. “This research showed that while Serifel is a living organism, it is hardy and robust.” 


Unexpected showers


When weather continues to be unpredictable, having a rainfast product can make all the difference.  


“Many growers steer away from biologicals because they believe the product will be washed away in rain or by their irrigation system. Through research, we know that this is not true for all products,” said Pearce. “After Serifel is sprayed, rain or an irrigation system can start less than three hours later and virtually no product will be washed away.”


Formulation matters


Pearce notes that not all biological products are made the same. “It’s important to look for a product that doesn’t have residual byproducts or metabolites left over from the fermentation process,” Pearce explained. “Ensuring a clean formulation allows the bacteria to act naturally without any interference.”


Stewardship standards


Like with all products, proper stewardship is vital for biological effectiveness. Pearce urges all growers to connect with their local BASF representative to learn more about Serifel and become familiar with the best practices and label requirements on the product. This way, growers can learn how and when to use the product.


“Serifel fungicide has up to 1 trillion more spores per application than other products,” said Pearce. “While those bacteria are microscopic, they need to be applied with the right nozzle, the right water volume, and the right tank mix to spread and work correctly.”


Growers can learn more about BASF’s biological crop protection portfolio at

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Always read and follow label directions.


Serifel is a registered trademark of BASF.


About BASF’s Crop Protection division


With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. BASF’s Crop Protection division works with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others to help make this possible. With their cooperation, BASF is able to sustain an active R&D pipeline, an innovative portfolio of products and services, and teams of experts in the lab and in the field to support customers in making their businesses succeed. In 2016, BASF’s Crop Protection division generated sales of €5.6 billion. For more information, please visit us at or on any of our social media channels.


About BASF


BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has nearly 17,500 employees in North America, and had sales of $16.2 billion in 2016. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, visit


At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 114,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into five segments: Chemicals, Performance Products, Functional Materials & Solutions, Agricultural Solutions and Oil & Gas. BASF generated sales of about €58 billion in 2016. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (BAS). Further information at