New Fungicide Tool on the Way

BASF unveils Xemium as new active ingredient for disease control using a new mode of action.

Published on: Mar 3, 2011

The competition in the fungicide market is going to heat up in 2012 as BASF rolls out a new active ingredient - Xemium fungicide - to power an expanding line of fungicides. And the introduction will mark the first time a carboxamide family fungicide will be available for row crops.

"Xemium offers residual control as it moves into the plant," explains Ulf Groeger, global project leader, BASF. The company first discovered the carboxamide family in 1974, in 2003 BASF rolled out Boscalid in the family, but Groeger says Xemium is a "next generation" product offering a broader spectrum of control.

The company is using a strategy similar to its approach with the popular herbicide Kixor, introduced in 2010. In that approach, Kixor "powers" a range of herbicides. In the case of Xemium, the same will be true. Teamed with F500, the active ingredient in Headline fungicide, Xemium will be incorporated into three new products - Merivon fungicide, Priaxor fungicide and Systive fungicide for seed treatment.

Groeger explained the new fungicide molecule during a special media event in advance of the 2011 Commodity Classic, which opens Thursday, March 2, in Tampa, Fla. He explains that the new molecule binds to the plant for better enzyme-blocking activity while offering better mobility in the plant than previous fungicides in the class. "Xemium disrupts the energy supply of the disease and growth of fungal cells is stopped," Groeger says.

He explains this activity combined with high mobility gives the product both preventative and curative activity. And the product is active at lower concentrations as well.

When the product is applied to plant leaves, dew and rain can help it move deeper into the plant. However, even in dry conditions, Groeger says the product works its way into plant tissues.

F500 pairing

Xemium will power three new products, but in all cases it will be teamed with F500 at different ratios.

Scott Walker, biology project manager, BASF, explains that Merivon fungicide will include Xemium and F500 at a 1-to-1 ratio. Priaxor will have F500 and Xemium at a 2-to-1 ratio with F500 the higher-volume component.

The products will have application both in specialty crops and row crops with Priaxor to be the row crop product. And it represents the first time a carboxamide-family fungicide will be offered to the row crop market.

Walker notes that Merivon shows solid control against apple scab and powdery mildew in apples. Both diseases are yield robbers with powdery mildew cutting crop value by as much as 50%. Merivon will be labeled for use on pome fruits and stone fruits and application ranges are being tested from 3 to 5.5 fluid ounces per acre.

He showed how Priaxor fungicide has performed in potato crops, offering enhanced early blight control over existing products including the company's own Endura fungicide. And it shows similar positive results for early blight in tomatoes too. Priaxor will be labeled for a range of row crops including cereals, corn, soybean, fruiting vegetables, the tuberous and corm vegetable subgroup, legumes and oil seed crops.

Nick Fassler, technical marketing manager, sees Priaxor being the preferred choice in the soybean market. "Headline AMP will remain a key product for use in corn, and Priaxor can be used in corn, however the residual control offered will be an advantage for soybeans," he says.

The final player in the mix is Systiva fungicide which is a seed treatment form of Xemium and is proposed for use on a wide range of crops including barley, corn, cotton, dried shelled peas and beans, edible podded legume vegetables, oat, peanut, rye, sorghum, soybean, sunflower, wheat and triticale seed.

Another benefit of Xemium fungicide is the enhanced ability to manage fungicide resistance. Adding a new mode of action to the control market with its high intrinsic disease control ability is a plus. "Research has been conducted on these individual products, and we have seen consistent performance because of the continuous protection provided by Xemium," Fassler notes.

BASF is currently going through the labeling process for Xemium, and anticipates that Merivon, Priaxor and Systiva will be available for season 2012.