MustGrow Biologics: NexusBioAg Partnership Validates Firms Research Program

Among current trends, governments around the world are banning the use of harmful pesticides and herbicide chemicals in agricultural production that have historically caused serious health problems for consumers. Consumers across the globe are increasingly demanding healthier, natural, and safer food options free from synthetic harmful pesticides and other toxic substances used in agriculture, to the point that they are now being banned or taken off the market by governments. Producers want to be able to meet these demands using safe products with proven effectiveness.

MustGrow Biologics Corp. (CSE: MGRO) is a Saskatchewan-based biotechnology company that is developing natural biological solutions to replace synthetic chemicals used in agriculture for high value crops such as fruits, vegetables, pulse crops, canola, and for use in other industries. MustGrow’s proprietary biotechnologies offer natural solutions to a number of serious issues affecting sustainable food production.

MustGrow has been researching the benefits of using the natural defense mechanisms derived from the mustard plant. The company has since developed biopesticides, bio-fumigants and bioherbicides using its 100% owned patented mustard-derived technologies to help promote safe and naturally sustainable agriculture.

The annual market for agricultural pesticides as a whole is estimated to be USD $65 billion, which offers companies such as MustGrow the potential to be a disruptive force as its products could potentially become effective replacements for traditional chemical products. A key factor will be the ability to produce economically viable formulations that can compete on price and volume.

Following this theme, on April 29, 2021, MustGrow and NexusBioAg, a subsidiary of Univar Canada, entered into a collaborative field trial program for MustGrow’s mustard-derived biopesticide, TerraMG. The program will focus on the treatment of Clubroot disease in canola, and Aphanomyces disease in pulse crops such as peas and lentils.

The global pulse crops market is expected to grow from US$16.2 billion in 2017 to US$24.3 billion by 2025 (CAGR of 5.2%) to meet the plant-based protein demand. It is therefore vitally important for pulse crop growers to ensure disease-free plant growth, and MustGrow’s products may help provide that assurance.

Canada is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters of pulse crops, and Aphanomyces, which is a water mould pathogen that causes root-rot disease, is often responsible for crop-yield losses in infected fields that can range from 10% to 100%. Currently available solutions can only slow down the disease, not eradicate it. MustGrow is field testing its mustard seed-based product that it believes can potentially eliminate Aphanomyces. It is estimated that Aphanomyce is responsible for annual pulse crop losses of $20 million in Canada and $100 million worldwide.

Clubroot disease meanwhile is estimated to cause annual crop losses of $500 million in the $30 billion Canadian canola industry, and current deterrents do not completely eliminate Clubroot, and ensuing damage could cause 100% loss of crops. 

The collaborative field trial agreement is a very important development for MustGrow, as it validates that the firms research is headed in the right direction for potential commercialization.

Univar Canada Ltd. is a subsidiary of U.S. specialty chemical giant Univar Solutions Inc. (NYSE: UNVR), which in 2020 had US$8.2 billion in sales serviced by an extensive transportation, logistics and distribution network. Successful field trials for MustGrow’s products could transform MustGrow into a major industry player in short order, especially if Univar ultimately integrates MustGrow’s products into their sales channels. Under the terms of the agreement, MustGrow will supply NexusBioAg with its mustard-derived products and technical support, and NexusBioAg will conduct the field trials with the goal of accelerating the development and commercialization of TerraMG for use in Canadian canola and pulse crops. 

MustGrow’s flagship product TerraMG is a 100% owned patented liquid product derived from mustard seeds and is a natural and organic solution intended to control soil-borne diseases, weeds, and pests in the cultivation process, but can also act as a post-harvest biopesticide for storage and food preservation. Safe shipping and storage is ensured by keeping its two main components apart until they are combined in the field. This also helps to extend the shelf life beyond two years, which is remarkable for a natural substance.

Research and development is the lifeblood of any biotechnology company, and MustGrow is constantly researching and testing formulations for future applications in the marketplace. The company has three main focal points:

  • Preplant Soil Bio-fumigants to be used to treat soil-borne diseases and insect pests for a wide variety of crops
  • Bioherbicides to replace glyphosate where they have been banned or discontinued with natural solutions
  • Postharvest Food Preservation biopesticides for storage and food preservation, shipping to protect against pathogens. The goal is to prevent sprout growth and disease in stored potatoes. The ability to control mycotoxins in stored grains. Prevent disease and control pests in shipping containers. Protect against food-borne pathogens such as E-coli, listeria, and salmonella. 

MustGrow conducts research for applications for a wide variety of different fruits, vegetables and pulse crops for all three categories. Each crop has unique characteristics that must be investigated to determine the potential for commercialization.

MustGrow Biologics presents investors with a potentially disruptive game changing opportunity in one of humanity’s most important and oldest industries; safe and sustainable agriculture and food production. The trend towards plant-based proteins has highlighted the need to prevent diseases that can disrupt or destroy crop growth, as consumers will require greater availability of peas, lentils, and other legumes that are gradually reducing reliance on meat-based proteins.

The recently announced field trials with Univar has enabled the Company to potentially advance its scientific research and accelerate its product commercialization through an arrangement with a leading agricultural specialty chemical company. This will enhance both the Company’s credibility and visibility within the industry. 

With only 42.7 million shares outstanding and a market capitalization of $71 million, MustGrow appears ready to embark on an exciting journey, and that could bode well for the company’s shareholders.

FULL DISCLOSURE: MustGrow Biologics Corp is a client of Canacom Group, the parent company of The Deep Dive. The author has been compensated to cover MustGrow Biologics Corp on The Deep Dive, with The Deep Dive having full editorial control. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security.

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