MustGrow Biologics Corp. (CSE: MGRO) is an agricultural biotech company focused on developing and commercializing its patented technology that is a natural biopesticide and biofertilizer for use as a fertilizer, nematicide, pesticide and fungicide. MustGrow’s novel and proprietary solutions utilize organic components refined from mustard seed to provide high quality, organic pest control to growers facing challenges associated with soil-borne diseases and pests such as nematodes. The company’s technology provides an all-natural, effective, safe and easy-to-use solution for farmers seeking to raise healthy crops without the use of pesticides.
Nematodes, or microscopic worms, are the most numerous multicellular animals on earth. A handful of soil will contain thousands of nematodes, many of which are parasites of insects, plants or animals. Most plant-parasitic nematodes feed on the roots of plants, damaging the root system and reducing the plant’s ability to absorb water and nutrients (http://nnw.fm/Qkz21). For the past 50 years, nematodes have been controlled using chemical nematicides, but the Environmental Protection Agency now restricts or bans many of the chemical formulations.
MustGrow’s technologies provide nematode control that is equal and often superior to synthetic alternatives, resulting in elevated yields and increased returns for the grower. The global economic impact of soil-borne nematodes is estimated at nearly $100 billion in lost crops per year. The American Phytopathological Society (http://nnw.fm/3HGuT), an international nonprofit scientific organization dedicated to the study and control of plant diseases, estimates that plant-pathogenic nematodes are responsible for 14 percent of crop losses worldwide.
MustGrow’s technology refines mustard seeds to concentrate the plant’s natural organic compounds that form Allyl isothiocyanate (“AITC”), which serves the plant as a natural defense system against pests and diseases. As a result, MustGrow’s novel product offers first-class performance, is 100 percent natural, and its fertilizer product is listed for organic use by the Organic Materials Review Institute (“OMRI”) under specifications set by the USDA’s National Organic Program.
MustGrow’s initial technology was a granular pre-plant soil biofumigant and biofertilizer containing the active ingredient AITC, a proven nematicide, fungicide and fertilizer. The company has completed 110 independent third-party field trials on fruit and vegetable crops. As a biofertilizer, MustGrow’s product is registered with Health Canada and the EPA in all U.S. states as OMRI-certified. It is also registered for use as a biopesticide by the EPA in key fruit and vegetable growing U.S. states (except California) and with Health Canada. MustGrow is finalizing a new liquid delivery platform with increased concentration of the same active ingredient (AITC) that can be applied through drip lines to meet the demands of today’s growers.
Results of tests completed to date show that MustGrow continues to provide innovative solutions with broad based applications within agriculture. Validated field trial results include:
- 100 percent control of root-knot nematodes in strawberry crops as compared to methyl bromide
- 55 percent tomato crop yield increase
- 95 percent control of Pythium root rot in lettuce fields
- 70 percent reduction in Verticillium root severity in cucumbers
- Market Opportunity
MustGrow is also testing the potential application of its technology to the cannabis industry, which is projected to grow to nearly $22 billion in the U.S. by 2020. While there are no uniform guidelines for pesticide use in the cannabis industry, state-by-state regulations in the U.S. do exist which has led to instances of pesticide-tainted cannabis showing up in tested products, leading to recalls and threats of lawsuits. Health Canada recently published regulations for mandatory testing for pesticides in cannabis that are now in effect for all growers. MustGrow’s potential application for cannabis production shows that when its product is used as a pre-plant/pot soil treatment, it may significantly help control many soil-borne diseases, pathogens and pests, including nematodes, fusarium, rhizoctonia, and botrytis (gray mold) that affect the cannabis plant. Cannabis consumers are increasingly demanding organic products free from chemicals and have shown they are willing to pay a premium for high-quality organic cannabis. MustGrow is currently running cannabis soil trials and is seeking Health Canada approval for use of its product on cannabis.
Global crop protection is a multibillion-dollar market that is expected to surge over the next five years. Sales of nematicides are set to grow by 33 percent to $1.43 billion by 2022, while biopesticides are projected to leap by 94 percent to an estimated $9.5 billion by 2022. MustGrow is targeting the global nematicide industry with products that include an innovative pre-plant soil treatment. Solutions for the global biopesticide industry include seed treatment technologies, fungicides and nematicides.
MustGrow’s groundbreaking technologies use novel plant compounds to provide superior crop protection naturally.
President and CEO Corey Giasson is an entrepreneur with more than 20 years in the agriculture, potash, oil and gas, mining and real estate industries. Mr. Giasson co-founded Rallyemont Energy Inc., a heavy oil company that successfully identified 140 million barrels of recoverable heavy oil, that was sold in 2013 to Husky Energy. He holds an MBA and bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Saskatchewan.
Chairman Brad Munro has 20-plus years as a vice president/investments, with a national venture capital firm where he sourced, invested and managed the activity of over 30 companies and invested $150 million. He has served as a director of over 20 public companies and a greater number of private enterprises. Munro is currently director of Secure Energy Services.
COO Colin Betsky is the previous vice president/BioAg at Novozymes, where he was responsible for the company’s BioAg business worldwide. He holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan and has more than 20 years of experience in agricultural chemicals and biologics.
Director Tom Flow is the founder and current president of The Flowr Corporation (TSX.V: FLWR) and Licensed Producer of cannabis in Canada. He founded and built MedReleaf, Canada’s most profitable Licensed Producer which was later acquired by Aurora Cannabis (TSX: ACB) (NYSE: ACB) for $3.2 billion. Flow is widely recognized for his leadership and expertise in building and operating cannabis cultivation facilities.
Director Matt Kowalski has a tremendous amount of experience in the fruit and vegetable and biologics industries. Under his leadership at Natural Industries, a business focused on biological pest control, the company was awarded five EPA registrations: three biofungicides, a bionematicide, and a bioinsecticide. In November 2012, Kowalski led the strategic sale of Natural Industries to Novozymes BioAg. He is the principal owner of Stronghold Keep Inc., an investment corporation.
CFO Todd Lahti has extensive experience evaluating and managing start-up companies in the biotechnology, agricultural and oil and gas sectors, working directly on financing transactions, mergers and acquisitions, corporate strategy, business development, technology transfer and operations set up. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a Chartered Professional Accountant.
- Targeted global markets include $1.43 billion nematicide industry, $9.5 billion biopesticide industry
- Economic impact of crop damage caused by soil-borne nematodes estimated at $100 billion worldwide
- The EPA has banned most synthetic fumigant nematicides and is also restricting the use of non-fumigant nematicides
- Consumer demand for organic products has increased the need for sustainable, green solutions
- Currently finalizing development of AITC liquid concentrate for drip line delivery platform
- Testing underway for potential application as a natural pre-plant soil treatment in the cannabis industry
- Based on third-party studies, MustGrow’s technologies deliver superior pest and pathogen control compared to harmful synthetic chemicals that are being banned