The global market for Biological Seed Treatment is projected to reach US$1.8 billion by 2025, driven by agricultural intensification in countries across the world to meet food security goals and changing nuances in the practice of plant nutrition management. From overuse of chemical fertilizers towards the use of biofertilizers as a reactive measure to fight agriculture's growing carbon footprint, the focus is now being shed on proactive early intervention to reduce the environmental burden of crop production. Starting with the seed is the new strategy which is resulting in robust developments in seed nutrition technologies. Starting with the seed is a good idea since it offers early defenses against diseases and nutrition challenges faced by food crops as climate change brings about changes in our environment that are detrimental to plant health and quality. New research studies are revealing disturbing evidence of how climate change and global warming are playing a key role in stripping the nutritional value of food crops. Rise in surface temperatures, water scarcity, and accumulation of CO2 in the environment are chief factors responsible for nutrition depletion in plants. CO2 although helps plants to grow, excess of CO2 causes plants to produce carbohydrates such as glucose at the expense of other vital nutrients such as protein, zinc and iron. This worrisome fact has serious consequences to public health if not addressed appropriately and in a timely manner. The scenario is driving increased interest in and importance of nutrition-sensitive agricultural practices.
Biological Seed Treatment, in this regard, is growing in prominence and commercial value. Defined as the application of biological agents to seeds, biological seed treatment helps in suppressing and controlling pathogen diseases all through the plant's life cycle. Other benefits of bio-treated seeds include early germination and reduced early planting risks; ability to grow deeper roots that increase nutrient and water absorption; positively influences biological processes that control germination and root development. Dressing, coating, pelleting and inoculation are the methods by which seeds are treated. Microbial inoculation is an effective seed treatment for agricultural crops. Benefits of seed inoculation include efficient placement of microbes in a manner that enables easy colonization of seedling roots and offer protection against soil borne diseases and threats; better ability to absorb nutrition from soils; protects roots from soil decay that tend to destroy beneficial Rhizobium and Bradyrhizobium bacteria; improved stress tolerance during periods of drought; and protection of beneficial bacteria from the negative effects of chemical fertilizers. Bio-treated seeds tend to form root nodules that are engineered to fix nitrogen from the air for better plant growth. Value of bio-treated seeds is also growing given the fact the soil quality deterioration is resulting in inadequate bacteria population in the soil required for effective natural nodulation i.e. symbiotic interaction between soil bacteria and plant hosts. Microorganisms commonly used as inoculants include Bradyrhizobium, Azotobacter, Azospirillum, Pseudomonas, and Bacillus. Growing in popularity are phosphate-solubilizing microorganisms. Rhizobia inoculants are fairly popular as they are easy to inoculate, carry no threat of over-inoculation and therefore do not require specialized expertise and knowledge. The United States and Europe represent large markets worldwide with a combined share of 56% of the market. The U.S also ranks as the fastest growing market with a CAGR of 11.2% over the analysis period supported by the country's massive investment commitments towards encouraging agricultural innovation, sustainability and digital transformation. Innovation in biological seed treatments in the country are poised to intensify in the coming years given the fact that new products are easier to register at Environment Protection Agency (EPA) as compared to chemical substitutes.
Competitors identified in this market include, among others, BASF SE, Bayer CropScience AG, Corteva Agriscience, Croda International Plc, ITALPOLLINA S.p.A, Koppert Biological Systems, Plant Health Care plc., Precision Laboratories LLC., Syngenta International AG, UPL Limited, Verdesian Life Sciences.