The Road to Registration

November 03, 2016

Long before a new BASF product reaches growers’ fields, it goes through a rigorous research and development process followed by a risk assessment from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). To do this successfully, BASF invests $1.5 million in the agricultural research and development division every day to ensure compliance and efficacy at every step of the process.

The road to registration is not always a direct route and can include multiple detours, forks and U-turns. A developing product can fail at any point along the road. In BASF labs, this is known as the 1:100,000 rule. In other words, BASF researchers screen over 100,000 potential molecules to find the one that works.

One product that recently received registration was Zidua® PRO herbicide, which combines three sites of action to control tough weeds in soybeans. The road to registration for Zidua PRO herbicide started with a problem – the increase of resistant weed species. Across the nation, growers are battling resistant species such as Palmer amaranth, waterhemp and pigweed. Each of these requires the latest and most effective solutions.

BASF researchers – molecular biologists, agronomists, engineers and chemists – start their development by looking for new active ingredients that can control crop pests in unique ways. They collaborate daily by using the latest analytical techniques such as computer-based molecular modelling, genetic profiling and mass spectrometry. When a breakthrough is made, and if the researchers feel confident in their new product, it must then receive EPA approval.

The EPA uses specific requirements to determine if a product is ready for public use. This includes reviewing the ingredients of the pesticide, the particular crop or site it is to be used on, the amount used, frequency and timing of its use, as well as storage and disposal practices.

To supplement the EPA’s risk assessments, BASF provided data from internal Zidua PRO herbicide studies. The EPA then thoroughly evaluated its environmental impact, which includes a review of the pesticide label, before the product can be sold or distributed throughout the United States. Every grower knows the importance of following label instructions as it provides clear directions for effective product performance.

Following EPA evaluation and approval, a product is ready to be sold and distributed, giving growers access to a new technology.

The research and development process does not stop when the product reaches the customer. Products often undergo further research at the many BASF research farms across North America. Additionally, the BASF team continues to gather feedback from growers and provide assistance with every step of learning a new technology.


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