BASF acquires higher-concentrated glufosinate formula

BASF is planning to introduce a new higher-concentrated glufosinate ammonium herbicide to the North American market after announcing the acquisition of the proprietary rights for the technology from AgriMetis.

Glufosinate ammonium is the active ingredient in Liberty herbicide, which is commonly used on Liberty-tolerant crops, including canola and soybeans.

The proprietary Glu-L technology developed by AgriMetis reduces the amount of product that needs to be applied by 50 per cent, according to both companies involved in the deal.

“As an innovation company, BASF is always seeking to invest in technologies and solutions that will help our growers succeed, which is why Glu-L is a notable addition to our portfolio,” notes Mark Shillingford, marketing director for BASF Canada, in a statement shared with RealAgriculture. “Glufosinate ammonium is a key player in the global herbicides market, especially when it comes to tackling weed resistance. Glu-L strengthens BASF’s position in this space and enables us to deliver innovative and sustainable solutions to our growers—so they can continue to secure and maximize their yields.”

So how does it work? Traditionally, glufosinate herbicide contains equal parts of D-glufosinate and L-glufosinate. Only L-glufosinate provides herbicidal activity, while D-glufosinate is inactive. AgriMetis developed a patent-protected process that converts the inactive D-glufosinate into the active L-glufosinate molecule, producing Glu-L.

As part of the deal, BASF has acquired all of AgriMetis’ intellectual property related to Glu-L.

“We are extremely pleased with the divestment of our Glu-L asset to BASF, the ideal company to bring Glu-L to the global market and provide growers with this innovative technology to protect their crops in an efficient and more sustainable way,” says Steven Tuttle, president and CEO of AgriMetis, in a statement.

AgriMetis has already started the application for registration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for several crops, including canola, soybeans, and cotton. BASF expects to introduce the new formulation in other markets, including Canada, within the next five years.

Weed control with Glu-L is described as equivalent to currently available glufosinate products, but the 50-percent product reduction would provide environmental and logistical benefits for applicators, distributors, and retailers who are used to handling large quantities of Liberty.

The acquisition of the new formula also provides BASF with new patent protection and product differentiation versus generic competitors.

Financial terms of the acquisition were not part of the announcement.

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