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Featured on OANZ May newsletter

Meet the Members

Botryzen: Fight the Good Fight Proven Natural Science

Botryzen manufactures unique biological and natural fungicide products, developed and researched at the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research, to control plant diseases and boost production and organic practices to deliver residue-free produce to consumers.  

I feel proud to be involved in a company such as Botryzen that manufactures world-class products for the horticultural industry and its consumers,” says Operations Manager, Peter Foster (pictured below). “Sustainability begins with what we put into our soil ecosystem and also in the everyday choices that we make towards helping the environment.”

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Since he took on the operations leadership role in 2010, Peter has pursued a strategy to build Botryzen’s reputation to stand for sustainability across its products, the environment, people and the business. He’s also encouraged the Botryzen team of six to cultivate sustainable and healthy habits at home as well as in the workplace.

“People who worked at Botryzen get the whole approach and after a while they start to become passionate and knowledgeable,” he says.

Established in 2001, and headquartered in Dunedin, its first and most well-known product was Botry-Zen®, a biological control agent (BCA) initially developed to tackle Botrytis cinerea, arguably the single most important pathogen confronting the international wine industry. Trials began back in 1997.

Contemporary application and research have shown its potential to protect against the fungal plant disease, Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and also limiting symptoms caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae (Psa) which has been the scourge of kiwifruit before it was brought under control.

“Botry-Zen® is like no other organism. It has been put together correctly and its mechanism is exquisite at what it does,” Peter says. “We not only have the chance to control disease, but we also have the chance to put back in the environment something that can be upcycled”.

Since the release of its first product, Botryzen has released Armour-Zen® and Midi-Zen which used in conjunction with one another can provide an entire season of disease control using different modes of action. Extensions to the product range for commercial producers and sectors including kiwifruit and cherries as well as home gardeners – are also available.

Botryzen now distributes its natural and biological fungicide products internationally to countries such as Korea and USA to use as natural alternatives for the horticultural industry. It’s also in the process of registration in Canada, Europe and South Africa.

Evolution

Peter looks at the business from a holistic point of view that encompasses the benefits of sustainable practices for the sake of the environment and also recognising the needs of producers, consumers, the community - and the company.

“Our aim is to make reliable alternatives to conventional products readily available and provide crop growers with new generation products to help combat plant disease and fit the mandate internationally,” he says.

Botryzen hopes to one day go beyond the organic niche where it is positioned and be ‘go-to’ product supplier that any grower – organic and conventional - can use.

“Changing long established growing methods and practices takes time and trust. But, with continued research and development, innovation, and the utilisation of natural and biological products, an expanding natural toolkit to combat plant disease is becoming available for growers to produce a sustainable food supply.”

Guiding Framework

Botryzen focuses on:

BIODIVERSITY

It is important that products can be used year after year without the threat of diseases building up resistance. Growers work hard to find the right mix of products for their situation and products should be easily integrated into a disease management programme to ensure disease control and reduce the chance of resistance forming to chemical products. Importance of biodiversity is when practices are residue free and have no effect on the taste of the produce or further processing such as wine making.

SOIL, WATER AND AIR

Botryzen focuses on the small things like microbes that make up the soil ecosystem. This immense and complex living community influence plant growth which are part of what we consume every day. Soil organisms store nutrients within their body and thus prevent nutrient loss by leaching. Without soil organisms organic material would accumulate and litter the soil surface, and there would be no feed for plants.

CHEMICALS

Manufacturing natural ingredients or GMO-free plant products reduces the use of chemicals in our food and drink supply. It also meets the growing demand for chemical free, environmentally conscious consumers.

PEOPLE

Due to the residue free nature and practices, consuming wine, fruit and vegetables protected with Botryzen’s products reduces chemicals being ingested and so improving our health.

BUSINESS PRACTICES

As all of Botryzen’s products are manufactured in New Zealand, there is less risk of supply disruptions. Products are registered with New Zealand government agencies and have been accepted, or are going through the process, with global regulatory authorities and their reporting structures.

For more information about Botryzen email: enquiries@botryzen.co.nz or visit www.botryzen.co.nz

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Written by PAULINE CERVANTES
Edited by SUSAN ROBINSON-DERUS

Merlissa Leslie