Compounds from the giant knotweed, an invasive plant that can grow up to 12 feet high and in the U.S. grows primarily on the East Coast, boosts the defensive systems of plants to help them fight powdery mildew, gray mold and bacterial blight.
According to the U.S. EPA, the use of giant knotweed extract is safe for humans and the environment.
The biopesticide is scheduled to be available to conventional growers in October, with a separate formulation for organic farmers coming in 2009.
Marrone expects the market for biopesticides to reach $1 billion by 2010, a small, but growing, percentage of the $30 billion pesticide market. In 2005, biopesticides made up 2.5 percent of the market, and could reach 4.25 percent in 2010, according to Marrone.
Marrone Organic Innovations was founded in early 2006 and previously developed organic weed killers that use citrus oil and lemongrass oil. Earlier this month, Marrone closed a $10 million round of financing, with an extra $1 million expected later in the month.