Valent BioSciences LLC
Valent BioSciences (VBC) is the worldwide leader in the research, development and commercialization of biorational products for agricultural, public health, and forestry markets. Customers and industry peers alike consider our technology assessment, formulation expertise, development experience, product quality, and market positioning for biorationals as “best-in-class.”
Biorationals are a broad range of substances typically derived from natural or biological origins. Biorationals include biological pesticides, as well as products used for crop stress management, enhanced plant physiology benefits, and root growth.
Valent BioSciences discovers, develops, manufactures, and markets sustainable biorational products that help address grower needs, provide vector control solutions that safeguard human health, maintain and expand green forests, and deliver measurable value to our customers and stakeholders.
VBC has identified innovation platforms to focus its efforts. These platforms include seed enhancement, crop stress management, and advancements in formulation science that meet unique application challenges in each of the markets it serves.
Research and Development
VBC’s world-renowned R&D personnel are trained and skilled as leaders in the area of plant science, with extensive expertise in the development of fermentation products, optimization of the fermentation process, and the development of new product formulations. The company is a clear leader in the development of intellectual property and has been recognized in the Crain’s Business Chicago “Eureka Index,” which honors companies for most new patents per 100 employees.
Valent BioSciences’ R&D team works in close collaboration with its commercial organization around the world to gain understanding of macro needs and local markets. Leveraging the global Research and Development (R&D) assets of its parent, Sumitomo Chemical Company, VBC uses a hands-on approach that combines innovative spirit with a strong foundation in science to create value for its customers.
Valent BioSciences was founded in 2000 when Sumitomo Chemical Company, Limited acquired the Ag Specialties Business Unit of Abbott Laboratories. Today, VBC sells through the SCC global distribution network.
ProTone: Picturing the Possibilities
Innovative PGR product from VBC fundamentally changes red table grape production
For SCC companies that serve agricultural markets, the notion of “feeding the world” is the common thread that links our corporate mission to channel partners and growers. As world population continues to grow, the demand for a safe and affordable food supply grows along with it.
What’s not increasing is the amount of agricultural land under production. Today and in the future, growers need to deliver higher yields from static or reduced amounts of acreage. As a result, innovative products that help growers achieve higher yields can have dramatic effects on production systems. ProTone plant growth regulator from Valent BioSciences is one such product, the success of which is a testament to the innovative spirit that resides within the Sumitomo group of companies.
Crop yield can be affected by a variety of factors. The portion of the crop that emerges as “unmarketable yield” is highly frustrating to growers. Simply put, unmarketable yield is the portion of the crop that doesn’t make the grade. This lower quality output may come in the form of deficiencies in fruit size, shape, color, or other inadequacies such as insect or disease damage, low sugar content, or the presence of a wide range of physiological defects.
For red table grape growers, color and marketable yield are closely linked. In the past, it was not uncommon for red table grape growers to leave between 15% and 40% of their fruit on the vine due to inadequate coloring. Several factors impact the development of the rich colors that mark red table grape varieties: rootstock, grape variety, environmental factors (such as soil type), and climate. Of these factors, weather is the one factor over which growers have no control.
As red table grapes mature, hot days and cool nights are best for optimal color development. High temperatures inhibit development of anthocyanins, the pigments that give red table grapes their color. Without cool nights, color development lags and with it lags a grower’s production efficiency and profitability.
For years growers have sought to overcome this dynamic through use of a product called ethephon. Ethephon promotes ethylene production in plants, which in turn speeds up plant maturity. But while accelerated color development can result from ethephon application, so do other ripening effects such as berry softening. Berry softening reduces the shelf life of the crop, and tends to diminish the value of gains achieved through enhanced coloring.
Enter ProTone plant growth regulator. Based on the natural plant hormone s-Abscisic Acid (ABA), ProTone stimulates an enzyme which enhances anthocyanin levels and promotes color in the berries. Applied as a foliar spray, ProTone speeds up color development at a rate higher than that of ethephon, and with one important difference. ProTone’s mode of action is unrelated to ethylene production, meaning that color develops with no adverse effects on maturity. By using ProTone, growers are able to get more fruit off the vine without worrying about spoilage or overly ripe fruit for their customers. The proof? Within just a few years since its introduction in 2009, ProTone is now being applied on more than 50% of all acreage in all of the leading red table grape production areas in the world.
Time lapse video of ProTone’s powerful coloring effect make it easy to see why this product has revolutionized red table grape production.