Fermentation has been used by humankind since the Neolithic age to harness the power of microbes. Fermentation is used to make food, drinks, medicines, chemicals and, in Corteva’s case, crop protection products. Qalcova™ active (spinosad) and Jemvelva™ active (spinetoram) are made by fermentation in a gentle process using water and a number of ingredients sourced from plants, including sugar.
While many chemical manufacturing processes use solvents sourced from oil refining – a non-renewable resource – Qalcova and Jemvelva are fermented using water. The bacteria used in these reactions are fed by plant-based ingredients and get their energy from corn sugar. In an example of a circular economy, the water used in the fermentation process is purified and re-used, and the resulting products – Qalcova and Jemvelva – are then used to more efficiently produce the very crops used in the fermentation process.
The quantity of crops protected by Qalcova and Jemvelva far outweighs the material consumed in the manufacture of these ingredients, so the positive impact on the circular economy is maintained. Corteva scientists and engineers are continually looking for ways to improve the sustainability and environmental profile of these fermentation processes so that this balance continues to move in a positive direction.