Innovation happened through research and experimentation that made possible the creation of Org Fung, a highly efficient biopesticide that has better and faster results than traditionally pesticides.
Maria Fernanda Castorena Elizondo
Victor Campo Aguirre
Erick Ruben Calahorra Mejia
EGADE Business School Tecnologico de Monterrey
The product is a new quinone-based bio-pesticide made from chaparral (Larrea tridentata) extracts. It is obtained from aqueous extracts of the endemic plant from the Mexican desert known as chaparral or the Creosote bush. This innovation emerged thanks to a new process to obtain a unique formulation that consists of transforming complex organic compounds called polyphenols, derived from aqueous chaparral extracts, into biomolecules known as quinones which have high antimicrobial properties. These quinones had been tested with a wide variety of fungus and bacteria that consistently affect crops.The main goal of the team led by Juan Osuna, CEO of Biomin and innovation leader, was to create a solution to the use (and abuse) of chemical pesticides. The pesticides have caused a significant detrimental impact on the environment by affecting soil fertility, water hardness and several diseases in workers responsible for handling this highly toxic pesticides in the crops.
Juan´s team created this product by trial and error until they found the proper method to create the quinones in an aqueous formula in order to have zero residue during the application of it in the crops.
This innovation first occurred by accident while the company was manufacturing another product. The original product was changing color, so they were looking for a natural conservative in order to maintain that product's color, but when they add the chaparral extract saw that it changed of color even more and discovered very high concentration of the chaparral extract. At this stage they knew that there might be a chance to get a highly concentrated extract from the chaparral without needing to use chemicals or alcohol. Using water instead revealed several of biologic reactions with the compound. This idea came out directly from Juan Osuna, because he knew all the properties of the plant but did not at the time know that there was a way to create quinones from it. After that accidental discovery and years of several experiments and research he and his team were able to find a way to create quinones in an aqueous form, in order to provide a holistic and sustainable solution.
Org Fung is becoming at a fast pace the most important product for Biomin. This is because they are gaining more customers due to the success and effectiveness of Org Fung, and the regular customers are getting great results from maintaining their crops healthy. At its core, it is cheaper than other products with more effective results.
It is important to mention that Org Fung is non toxic for humans, which means that the people on the fields in charge of the applying it to crops can do so more safely and rapidly than ever before. Also Org Fung only attacks fungus and bacteria. Thus, it is not toxic for animals and because its aqueous form it doesn't leave any residue. This is great for the environment, as it is a more responsible way to use land and prevent detriment to the soil fertility.
Because the business was the first to develop this product and had previous experience developing bioproducts, the company has a competitive advantage versus other producers in the industry. Its experience and scale allows it to more efficiently process raw material, producing 25 liters of product with material that others could only use to produce 1 liter. The company has a great opportunity to invest in new equipment to meet the highly growing demand for the product.
The ability of the company to leverage its own capabilities has set up a 55% margin with the product they are innovating while offering the product to the customers at a price 10x cheaper than other chemical-based products that are more harmful for the people and environment.
There is high expansion potential for OrgFung as the diseases the crops experience in Mexico are the same they experience in China. Currently the biggest pineapple exporter in Mexico is shipping product to Europe so fruits that have been treated with OrgFung are currently meeting the European health standards. Currently several countries in Central America as Peru and Guatemala are testing the product in vegetables.
As the population continues to grow and demands more food, the agriculture industry must ramp up producing to meet the high demand. In order to meet the growing demand for food in a sustainable way, OrgFung has an international organic certificate by the Organic Materials Review Institute. This is an institute through which the United States is validating that the processes and raw materials used in this product are totally friendly to the environment.
This product can be used in organic agriculture as well as in conventional agriculture, but one of the main benefits for the environment is the lack of emission of chemical residues by controlling diseases in the crops.
For example, chemical residues have been found even in Antarctica. These residues are chemical waste products are not biodegradable (they take thousands of years to degrade, similar to plastic). We may not see these chemical residue in the soil, in the air, and in the water the same as we can see a plastic bottle, but it is just as serious because those residue molecules are staying in the environment. The truth is that we do not have idea of how they can affect us both to the environment and the human health.
Juan Osuna, Chief Executive Operator
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Saltillo, Coahuila de Zaragoza, MX
Business Website: http://bioamin.com.mx/
Year Founded: 2008
Number of Employees: 11 to 50
Bioamin SA de CV is a biotechnology company focused on research, development and manufacturing of organic, botanic and biological solutions for the most difficult needs of the agroindustry. These needs include controlling plague, maximizing production and be environmentally friendly in order to re-plant again in the same land over multiple seasons.