MSOB: Understanding Bacillus-Based Products and Grower Needs

Brian GermanIndustry, Making Sense of Biologicals

Bacillus-Based Products

Bacillus-based products have been used by farmers for several decades and the category is a sizable one. There are multiple different species within the Bacillus genus, which can all have different characteristics. Even within the same species, there can be different isolates that have different impacts on cropping systems. Vice President of Field Development and Technical Services for Marrone Bio, Timothy Johnson said that Bacillus-based fungicides in particular have come a long way over the last 20 years.

“I think what’s good for the growers is that there’s now really a wide variety of different Bacillus-based fungicides. There’s at least a half dozen,” said Johnson. “But what’s also very confusing for the growers is how the heck you tell these apart and decide which one is optimum for use in your specific situation.”

Differences in Bacillus-based products come from the fermentation process. Peptides that are produced in that process are what give products their fungicidal activity. However, growers will want to carefully consider which Bacillus-based product is right for their operation. Even two Bacillus-based fungicides that are in the same species can actually produce different peptides that will impact fungi growth differently.

“You may see two labels and you look at the active ingredient and they’re both Bacillus amyloliquefaciens, but they may actually have very different characteristics. One may be appropriate for the disease you’re trying to control whereas the other one is not,” Johnson noted. “So, you really have to read the labels closely and then see if you can find some data to help you make your decision.”

Listen to the full episode with Timothy Johnson below.

‘Making Sense of Biologicals’ is a series from AgNet West that dives into various topics with unbiased experts in the field of biologics to help the industry better understand the product category.

This episode of Making Sense of Biologicals is made possible by Marrone Bio Innovations, leading the movement to environmentally sustainable farming practices through the discovery, development and sale of innovative biological products for crop protection, crop health and crop nutrition. Marrone Bio’s portfolio of 18 products helps a wide range of growers – from row crops and fruits and vegetables to tree nuts, vines, and greenhouse production – operate more sustainably while increasing their return on investment. For educational webinars and biological IPM programs, visit