Serenade, the biofungicide from AgraQuest Inc., Davis, Calif., has been registered for grower use by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and added to the list of approved crop protection products by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI).

The Eugene, Oregon-based OMRI added Serenade to its list of materials allowed for use in production, processing and handling of organic food and fiber after the new formulation received its federal registration.

The California Environmental Protection Agency's Department of Pesticide Regulation and the Washington State Department of Agriculture's Organic Food Program also have approved the new formulation.

Serenade is based on AgraQuest's patented strain of Bacillus subtilis, a microorganism that is effective against several crop damaging pathogens, including powdery mildew, walnut blight, Botrytis bunch rot and fire blight.

Approved uses

The original wettable powder and the newly registered organic formulation of Serenade are approved for use on vines, fruits, hops, peanuts, vegetables and walnuts. Three new crops — carrots, broccoli and onions — have been added to the U.S. EPA label for the organic formulation.

Other than copper and sulfur, Serenade is the only fungicide with a broad spectrum of disease control approved for organic use in the United States.

“Developing Serenade for organic production cements our commitment to provide both conventional and organic customers effective, new solutions for disease pest management,” said AgraQuest president and CEO Pamela Marrone. “Until now, organic growers had very few choices for plant disease control. With Serenade organic, growers now have the means for better disease control and improved crop yields previously only available to conventional growers.”

Used on grapevines, Serenade is the one product that effectively controls all major diseases including powdery mildew, Botrytis bunch rot, and sour rot in addition to suppressing downy mildew. The biofungicide is also registered for use on hops, peanuts, cucurbits, leafy vegetables, cherries and walnuts. It is effective against several crop-devastating pathogens, including other powdery mildews, Sclerotinia and walnut blight. Uses on apples and pears will be added to the label shortly.

Serenade works by preventing diseases caused by plant pathogens. It can stop plant pathogen spores from germinating, disrupt germ tube and mycelial growth and inhibit attachment of the plant pathogen to the leaf by producing a zone of inhibition restricting the growth of these disease causing pathogens. The patented strain of Bacillus subtilis contained in Serenade has also been shown to colonize pathogens, thus causing inhibition pathogen's germinating spore.