AgraQuest Launches Ballad(TM) Biofungicide for Asian Soybean Rust

The First Biofungicide Registered for Organic Soybeans

May 02, 2005, 01:00 ET from AgraQuest, Inc.

    DAVIS, Calif., May 2 /PRNewswire/ -- AgraQuest, Inc. is pleased to
 announce the launch of Ballad(TM) Biofungicide for control of Asian soybean
 rust on organic soybeans and other legumes.  Ballad is based on a naturally
 occurring patented strain of the bacterial species Bacillus pumilus, which
 produces natural pesticidal compounds. These compounds, present in every
 container of Ballad, destroy the cell walls of the rust pathogen. Ballad is
 AgraQuest's first entry into the large-acreage row crops. To date, the company
 has targeted high value fruits, nuts, vegetables, and home gardens.
     Ballad was as effective as the chemical standard, azoxystrobin (marketed
 as Quadris(R) and Amistar(R) in various crops) in recent Asian soybean rust
 field trials in South Africa. Ballad is approved for use in organic
 agriculture by OMRI and the National Organic Program. While there are several
 chemicals that are approved or under emergency exemption for control of
 soybean rust in conventional soybeans, Ballad is currently the only product
 approved for organic soybeans. The USDA estimates that there are 500,000-
 600,000 acres of organic soybeans in the US, growing at a fast pace of more
 than 20% new plantings per year. The high consumer demand for healthy soy
 products has sparked the increase, and there are probably another 400,000
 acres in transition to organic.
     "Organic growers have limited tools to manage this disease," said Chris
 Coombs, AgraQuest's US Business VP. Continued Coombs, "Asian soybean rust has
 proven to be devastating to soybean yields in South America. We encourage
 organic growers to stay ahead of the disease progress and apply Ballad as a
 preventative treatment for rust and other diseases that reduce yields."
     The disease, originally from China, has been causing serious infections in
 South America and came to the United States with hurricane Ivan in 2004. First
 detection was in southeastern states but was also found in Missouri this past
 fall and as of late April is present in Florida and Georgia
 ( ). The amount of resources dedicated by the USDA, the
 university extension system, and the soybean and agrichemical industries to
 address the problem is quite substantial considering the potential impact on
 the US soybean market. There are no known varieties that are resistant to
 soybean rust, but the USDA is working on developing varieties that will resist
 damage. Soybeans are not the only crop affected. Growers of other legumes such
 as lima beans and snap beans will also be affected.
     AgraQuest recommends protecting the crop from flowering to pod fill.
 Because of the biodegradability of the product, intervals between sprays
 should be no more than 14-days. Ballad has no export restrictions, no pre-
 harvest interval, and is exempt from CODEX rules. It has a four-hour re-entry
 period, is compatible with copper, sulfur and many other products, and has a
 high degree of safety to beneficial insects and other organisms. Ballad is a
 preventive product and should be used before rust infections appear. Ballad is
 available in 30-gallon drums and 2.5-gallon containers.
     About AgraQuest
     AgraQuest is a biotechnology company that focuses on discovering,
 developing, manufacturing and marketing effective, safe and environmentally
 friendly natural pest management products for agricultural, institutional and
 home markets The company sells Serenade and Rhapsody(R) Biofungicides and
 recently announced registration of Sonata biofungicide for control of powdery
 mildew, downy mildew and rust. Pending at the EPA are Arabesque(TM)
 biofumigant and Virtuoso(TM) bioinsecticide. In 2003, AgraQuest won the
 prestigious Presidential Green Chemistry Award from the EPA for the discovery
 and commercialization of Serenade Biofungicide.  In 2004, AgraQuest received a
 Red Herring Top 100 Private Company Award and a World Technology Award.
     Certain matters contained in the press release concerning AgraQuest, Inc.
 are forward-looking statements which are subject to known and unknown risks
 and uncertainties which may cause the Company's actual results, performance or
 achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance
 or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.
 Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the receipt of EPA and
 other regulatory approval of the Company's products, the success of the
 Company's products in field trials and the timely development, manufacture and
 marketing and acceptance of the Company's products in the marketplace.
     NOTE:  Quadris and Amistar are registered trademarks of Syngenta

SOURCE AgraQuest, Inc.