BioSafe Systems

Keeping Quality Up

Using peroxyacetic acid for increasing quality and decreasing loss

In the December 2018 issue of Potato Grower, Michael Larose, Technical Marketing Manager at BioSafe Systems, had an article published titled “Keep Quality Up.” He discusses how peroxyacetic acid (PAA) can increase the quality of products, decrease the loss and then goes into detail about common issues in potato storages.

BioSafe Systems’ PAA products are effective against a broad range of profit-robbing, storage pathogens but meet sustainability requirements. Michael states, “Peroxyacetic acid is still considered a newer technology in the agrochemical industry, but it’s a powerful chemistry that helps potato producers and shed managers address the critical practices.”

BioSafe provides products and applications expertise via application partners to help manage storage pathogens from post-harvest to pre-bagging. Our products are designed for today’s requirements of storage, providing the highest degree of sanitation and control over potato storage. This results in enhanced storage quality and increased pack-out, which in turn maximizes profits.

Read the full published article here

Sustainability: What Does It Mean?

Energy power

By: Rob Larose, President & CEO of BioSafe Systems

The term sustainability is used more and more but there is a multitude of different definitions and applications for this term in the horticultural industry. Sustainability is defined as the “avoidance of the depletion of natural resources in order to maintain an ecological balance.”

When I started BioSafe Systems over 20 years ago, the terms “green” and “sustainable” were not commonplace. If one was to try and categorize something in terms of being green back in the early 90’s, it was most likely either “organic” or a “crunchy,” meaning that you ate granola and were out to save the world.

The mainstream media have embraced the Green Movement, which seems to be an off-shoot of the ecology movement of the 1970’s and loosely attached to the political Green Party established in Germany. The green movement embraced the concept of helping to avert global warming, reduce waste, stop water pollution and help feed a hungry world.

Activists state that to slow global warming, we need to change our buying habits to only purchase so-called “earth-friendly products.”

Here at BioSafe, we have a very clear definition of what “Green and Sustainable” means to our company and how we use these principals to develop our products by.

Tenets of BioSafe Systems’ Sustainability

  1. Products we develop and sell will not leave any lasting chemical, botanical or microbial legacy behind. They must be as biodegradable as possible. Our activated peroxygen technology is a perfect example of hard-hitting, effective chemistry that biodegrades within 20 minutes of its application, releasing only oxygen, water and organic acids. Our organic certified AXXE® herbicide biodegrades within 24-hours after effectively burning down weeds. The goal is simple: to provide a product that does the job but leaves little, if any, trace that it was ever used.
  2. Whenever possible, our product will be listed as suitable for use in organic farming, growing or processing. This is our Gold Standard for being “green and sustainable.” Today, 90% of our products are meeting the standards of the National Organic Program administered by the USDA.
  3. Our manufacturing processes have a zero-waste goal. Currently, 99% of our manufacturing processes do not create ANY waste product. We not only manufacture products that are environmentally responsible, but we try to manufacture them responsibly too. Our purchasing department has the authority to buy less and pay more. We’ve set a goal to reduce the amount of paper we use corporate-wide by 50%.
  4. Reuse whenever possible. Due to the very nature of the products we develop and manufacture, many products can be re-purposed and re-manufactured. This means that if we have old inventory that has passed it’s expected lifespan, we simply re-manufacture the product and bring it back into proper specification.
  5. We try to reduce as much packaging as possible. There are many government regulations that dictate the use of various labeling and do not allow for use of biodegradable paper or containers.
  6. Continually search for alternative products that will meet our requirements, promote an enduring environment and leave no trace behind.
  7. Our manufacturing plants use as much electrical power as the average household.
  8. We have our products certified by an organization based in the Netherlands called “More Profitable Sustainability” (MPS), which manages sustainability certificates for the international flowers and ornamentals industry. Focusing on the environmental performance of the company can lower the environmental footprint and implement that sustainability goal.

Our effort here at BioSafe is an ongoing and developing culture of sustainability and one that is based on our endeavor to do the right thing. We only grow as fast and as far our company resources allow us to grow and we strive to run our company by the ten principals listed on our website.


BioSafe Systems: Expanding Horticulture Coverage for Colorado and Beyond

EAST HARTFORD, CT – BioSafe Systems is proud to announce the strategic hire of Zac Ricciardi, as a Technical Sales Representative for Colorado and surrounding areas. Zac brings with him over twelve years of horticultural sales experience in the western and central regions of the USA. As an active member of the horticulture community, his wide knowledge range of crops and growing methods will be integral in aiding customers meet their goals.

Having experience as a supplier and a large-scale grower, Zac brings with him a drive for clean growing and believes in BioSafe’s mission to help growers become more sustainable without sacrificing effectiveness.

National Sales Manager, Jeff Kline, is excited to have Zac on board and to have his eagerness and problem-solving skills in the field helping growers throughout his region. “The amount of real world experience that Zac brings to the team is invaluable, I am excited to have him covering the mountain region and I am confident that he will be your go-to guy.”

When Zac isn’t spending time with growers you can find him enjoying outdoor adventures with his wife and dog. Snowboarding, fishing, and camping in the Rockies are among his favorites. He loves to see new and exciting places and to blaze new trails whenever possible.

For more information, contact BioSafe Systems at 888-273-3088 or visit Zac can be reached directly at 303.518.5105 or at


BioSafe Systems Announces the Availability of AXXE® Broad Spectrum Herbicide in Canada

EAST HARTFORD, CT – BioSafe Systems announces the availability of AXXE Broad Spectrum Herbicide across Canada. AXXE is a non-selective herbicide designed for the control or suppression of grass and broadleaf weeds, such as (but not limited to): crabgrass, pigweed, amaranth, carpetweed, and liverworts and for contact spray control or burndown of weeds and grasses for ornamentals, turf, landscapes, interiorscapes, greenhouses, and non-crop areas on farmsteads.

“AXXE Broad Spectrum Herbicide will allow growers across the country to achieve fast burndown of unwanted weeds and grasses while maintaining a sustainable program for their farms and facilities.” Says Ester Mastronardi – BioSafe Systems Technical Sales Representative based in Leamington, ON.

AXXE features Ammonium Salt of Fatty Acid, which works to penetrate the cell walls of plants which eliminates unwanted vegetation quickly by disrupting plant tissue through cell wall disruption, resulting in cease of plant growth and brown necrosis. This powerful herbicide is formulated to act fast (within 24 hours) and to biodegrade quickly, leaving no harmful residue behind.


For more information and where to purchase BioSafe Systems products in Canada, contact Plant Products at 519-326-9037 / or BioSafe Systems at 888-273-3088 /


BioSafe Systems and Plant Products announce exclusive partnership in Canada

EAST HARTFORD, CT – BioSafe Systems and Plant Products are excited to announce that, as an exclusive partner, Plant Products will act as the manufacturer’s exclusive distributor in key Canadian provinces including:  Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island.

Plant Products has been a premier full-service supplier of fertilizer, pest control products, seeds and other consumable goods to the greenhouse, turf, nursery and specialty horticulture industries in Canada and the USA for more than 75 years. It maintains locations in Laval, QC, Ancaster, ON, Detroit, MI and head office in Leamington, ON. Plant Products brings many strengths to this new partnership including: technical sales, new product development, regulatory, marketing, and logistics.

Jeff Kline – Professional Products Segment Manager for BioSafe Systems says “Combining our efforts for a more unified approach in Canada benefits both parties exponentially. I am excited to continue delivering sustainable, quality solutions to all of Canada and continue in shared success with everyone at Plant Products.”

Kelly Devaere – Product and Marketing Manager for Plant Products adds “We are happy to partner with BioSafe Systems in Canada to expand their existing portfolio as well as launch new and innovative products in all our key markets in the coming years.”

For more information and details on this partnership and where to purchase BioSafe Systems products in Canada, contact Plant Products at 519-326-9037 / or BioSafe Systems at 888-273-3088 /


Lifecycle Management of Fall Production Pests Using Biological Pesticides

By Manuel Campos, Ph.D., Entomologist, BioSafe Systems 

Seasons come and seasons go, but it always seems like the pests are here to stay. Developing a successful and sustainable year-round IPM program should be paramount for any grower whether it be in the greenhouse or in the nursery fields. Keeping in mind the entire lifecycle of the trouble insects can be more difficult in practice than it is in concept. Many growers deal with their pest problems in the now, however taking a preventative approach during the early stages of an insect’s growth will prove to be even more effective over time. Using biological products is one way to ensure greater control of pests while maintaining a sustainable and non-resistant program.

Fall production of ornamental crops such as pansies and poinsettias can be a breeding ground for whiteflies, fungus gnats, and thrips. Importing plugs from external sources presents its own risks as well when growers end up importing more than they bargained for. Bringing in large amounts of product along with large amounts of pests can have a detrimental effect on production and profits if left unchecked. Using biological pesticides that affect the different stages of an insect’s lifecycle are extremely effective, non-residual, and are soft on the plants themselves during any stage of production. Biological products can still be used with broad spectrum bactericides/fungicides but it’s all about the timing. Chemistries such as ZeroTol 2.0 can be applied throughout the growing on and finishing stages to prevent or treat common foliar diseases such as Botrytis or powdery mildew and since it simply breaks down into air and water a biological product can be used as soon as the chemical dries.

BioSafe Systems, a leader in sustainable chemistries, has developed a proprietary OMRI listed strain of Beauveria bassiana fungus used in their BioCeres WP® product, which is approved for organic production and is perfectly suited for IPM programs, in a tank mix with other pesticides or surfactants as well as specific, stand-alone use. This sustainable insecticide consists of a wettable powder formulation that is easily blended with water to form a suspension and can be applied as a direct foliar spray or fogging. BioCeres WP is enhanced with UV inhibitors and other proprietary stabilizers to form an extremely stable and predictable biological product that can be used regularly with no mutational resistance.

BioCeres WP is used for the biological control of numerous pests at all stages of their lifecycles including whiteflies, aphids, thrips, and spotted wing drosophila by adhering to the insect’s cuticle, germinating and piercing its outer shell, ultimately causing death. It can be used in a wide range of agricultural, nursery, and greenhouse crops including ornamental plants and edibles.

When an insect comes into direct contact or consumes the Beauveria bassiana, the conidia’s germination tubes begin to grow directly into the body of the insect by penetrating its outer shell (cuticle). These hyphae will not only pierce the insect causing physical changes but will release toxins as well, slowing their movement and reducing the damage that the insect can inflict on plants. This infection from BioCeres WP results in a white mold growth, called White Muscardine Disease, which leads to the eventual death of the insect. The Muscardine Disease will continue to produce spores, spreading to other insects and repeating the process without harming plants.

BioCeres WP is part of a larger BioSafe system of products and is made stronger by working together with other biological products such as AzaGuard, which acts as an insect growth regulator, stopping the molting process between the larval and pupal stages. Combining this effect with BioCeres WP, which targets all lifecycle stages, especially adults, effectively controls various insects that can harm crops of all kinds. Products like these are extremely effective as part of an integrated IPM program and aid growers in being proactive against pests rather than reactive. Ultimately saving time, money, and giving peace of mind to growers as they deal with stubborn pests anywhere in their production.

Killer Pathogens Can Be Murder on Crops

Courtesy of Growing America

They lurk deep down in the soils in crop fields—little murderers with names like Rhizoctonia, Pectobacterium and Pythium. You can’t see them, but you can see the mayhem they cause to your crops. Rotting roots. Wilted leaves. Lesions. Stunted growth. Money out the window.

“Soil-borne plant pathogens can limit or even ruin an entire vegetable or fruit crop if left uncontrolled,” says Vijay Kumar Choppakatla, Plant Pathologist/Director of Research and Development for BioSafe Systems. “The challenge is that many of them have a very broad host range, making a wide variety of crops susceptible to the destruction they can cause…and often you don’t know the pathogens exist until the worst damage is done.”

Choppakatla says it doesn’t take much to create the perfect pathogen storm. Among plant pathologists, and at BioSafe, a family-owned manufacturer of biodegradable disease-control products, based in East Hartford, Connecticut, that perfect storm is known as the “three corners of the disease triangle.” You start with a virulent pathogen, add a susceptible host (your crop plants), place in a congenial environment, and boom…a successful plant disease is born.

Even worse, soil-borne pathogens tend to be hardy—some of the nastiest fungal-based pathogens such as sclerotia can thrive in some of the harshest conditions and persist in the soil for many years, whether or not a field is planted.

Bottom line? Once pathogens have made themselves comfortable in your soil, they’re difficult to eradicate. Difficult, but not impossible.

Combination of Management Practices

Choppakatla says most growers use a combination of management practices to combat pathogens, including cultural, chemical and biological methods, all to achieve what today is generally known as “biosecurity.” In simple terms, biosecurity is the elimination and prevention of disease pressures in an environment, thereby maintaining a healthy growing area. The challenge is to exercise biosecurity while being kind to the environment

  1.  Cultural Methods

When you think “cultural” management of soil-borne pathogens, think about the things you’re likely doing already such as adding organic matter to your soil, rotating crops, planting cover crops between fields, controlling irrigation, and disposing of culled produce somewhere where it won’t re-infect a field.

Another simple yet powerful eradication method is soil solarization, literally using the heat from the sun to kill the bad organisms. While it may not be viable for large fields, it works well in smaller plots.

According to Rodale’s Organic Life, the process involves laying a clear plastic tarp atop soil cleared of plant debris to concentrate the sun’s energy in the top 12 to 18 inches. The heat trapped below the plastic can reach highs of 140°F in the top 6 inches, killing weed seeds, insects, nematodes, and many fungal and bacterial pathogens. It’s worth noting that the beneficial effects from solarization are greatest near the soil surface and decrease with depth.

2.    Chemical Methods

Chemical methods involve use of soil fumigation prior to crop planting, seed treatment with chemicals and post-plant soil fungicides.

“Using chemicals can be effective, however, the application processes can be cumbersome and intensive,” says Choppakatla. “Some soil fumigants require growers to adhere to special management plans to properly administer the treatment and avoid any non-target exposure to the applied fumigant. Plus, there’s a waiting period between application and planting of about 3 to 4 weeks. It’s also critical to create buffer zones around the treated fields.”

Moreover, Choppakatla points out, for organic growers, conventional fumigants aren’t even an option. Which is why many farmers, traditional and organic alike, turn to the natural option of biological-based control and eradication of soil-borne pathogens—solutions that are not only safer for the environment, but also for people and animals.

3.    Biological Methods

Biological-based methods (Bio-control) involve the use of registered bacterial and/or fungal-based bio-control agents; natural preventiatives which protect plant roots from soil pathogen infection; and use of soil inoculants which use beneficial endophytes (microbes) to promote plant health.

Choppakatla says the primary objective of these all-natural treatments is to address soil-borne pathogens in a way that maintains sustainable soil health without negatively impacting the health and safety of people and the environment.

“An important consideration in the use of biological management options is that they are primarily preventive in nature,” notes Choppakatla. “In other words, they help to prevent the infection but may not help with control once infection is established. So timing of application is key with this method.”

BioSafe’s treatments involve integration of chemical and biological based methods designed to help with controlling soil pathogens while maintaining/improving the soil health, which is critical for plant growth.

“The chemical treatment method we’ve developed involves use of activated hydrogen peroxide-based chemistry and both of the products in the system are non-residual and non-toxic.”

Among the products based under this group of chemicals (H202 + PAA) are TerraStart and TerraClean 5.0 which Choppakatla says are both EPA approved for use as a soil bactericide/fungicide. TerraClean 5.0 is also OMRI approved for use in organic production.

“Upon application to the soil,” explains Choppakatla, “the products basically sanitize the soil by oxidizing the plant pathogenpropagules immediately on contact. Then the chemicals break down into water, oxygen and acetic acid, which are completely safe by-products. As an added benefit, there is a release of oxygen, a bonus benefit because it helps oxygenate the plant root zone.”

We all want effective solutions for maintaining healthy soil that contributes to healthy growth and high yields, and sometimes the idea of “alternative methods” can give us pause. As part of a company that specializes in those alternative methods, Choppakatla knows well the hesitation some growers have to try new technologies.

“Ask the hard questions, read up on reliable efficacy data, and do the math to make sure it fits your budget. But above all, whatever treatment plan you adopt for your operation, consider its effects on the environment.”

BioSafe Systems: Growing our East Coast Technical Team

EAST HARTFORD, CT, April 13 – BioSafe Systems is proud to announce the strategic hire of Patrick Clark, as a Technical Sales Representative for the Northeast territory of the United States.  He brings with him an extensive experience and regional knowledge of the agriculture market.

Patrick served as a business unit agronomist for Helena Chemical Company where he provided agronomic and precision agriculture support in the eastern half of the US. He was also employed by Marrone Bio Innovations as a sales representative in the Northeast & Great Lakes regions. Prior to that, he was the general manager of a wholesale nursery servicing the ornamental and agriculture markets in the Northern California, Western Nevada, and Southern Oregon markets. Patrick holds three Associate of Agriculture Science degrees from Butte-Glen Community College and a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture Science: Crops, Horticulture, & Land Resource Management from California State University – Chico, CA. 

He will be based in the greater Philadelphia area and is advantageously located to best support the Northeastern US territory via travel. In Patrick’s spare time, he enjoys camping/hiking, backpacking, kayaking, fishing, and hunting. He is an avid reader of history and science based subjects, and he thoroughly enjoys travelling and exploring new cultures. Additionally, Patrick volunteers his time at a local community garden project as well as hosting mini-seminars there to home gardeners on a wide range of agricultural and horticultural topics. BioSafe Systems welcomes Patrick and is pleased to have him as a part of the family.

For more information, contact BioSafe Systems toll-free at 888-273-3088

Must Haves for Pre-season Preparation

By: Matthew Lavallee

With Spring upon us a new growing season begins across America, the importance of pre-season preparation can’t be understated; ensuring that you are equipped for future issues now can save a lot of time and money later down the road. Anticipating a pest or pathogen outbreak keeps growers more mindful throughout the entire production and keeping ahead of these potential issues will aid in generating a bountiful crop with as little loss as possible. Read more about how to stay on top of your crop this season by preparing early.

Treat those seeds

Pre-season preparation begins with properly treating seeds prior to planting using hot water treatments or bactericide/fungicide washes to kill pathogens on the seed itself before they begin to germinate. Using washes and baths is the most effective way to neutralizes pathogens but the process requires immediate planting once they are introduced to water for such a prolonged period. Plan ahead and ensure that your fields are ready to receive the seed as soon as it has been treated to maximize control of bacteria and fungus but minimize the loss of seed due to moisture.


Healthy Soil is imperative

Of course, planting treated seeds into infected soil undoes this hard work so to make sure that planting areas are prepped to receive cleaned seed as soon as possible, focus on eradicating soil borne pathogens, pests, and nematodes in the field itself by treating the planting area with bactericides/fungicides especially in the root zone, managing pathogens and establishing a proper starting point for healthy plants. Once the pathogens have been addressed, using a beneficial soil amendment or inoculant can increase stimulation of healthy root systems and aid in increased yields all season long.


Don’t forget Pre, and Post emergent weed treatment

Now that the seeds and soil are clean you have developed a near perfect breeding ground for all plants, including the ones that you didn’t introduce. Controlling weeds immediately and continuing throughout the entire growing season should be a top priority for any grower. Take action early whenever possible with pre-emergent herbicides to gain the upper hand early and continue the fight once weeds have broken the surface with post emergent weed control in order to keep resource-competing weeds at bay.

Proper weed management should not be limited to the crop area but also practiced around the entire premises. Don’t neglect to use broad spectrum herbicides in less attended areas such as roadsides/driveways, fence lines, and around barns and storage areas where unwanted plants can become unwieldy and problematic rather quickly.


Prep now, reap later

Following steps like these is just one part of a healthy and productive season, but without pre-season preparation, you could be setting yourself up for more issues than there is time to address. Acting now, and keeping the pressure on ensures success that will last all season long.