Agro Research International is well known for manufacturing Thyme Guard, an organic bactericide and fungicide made from thyme oil extract. Recently, company founder Marc Lajeunesse sold the biological part of the company to Micro Bio Tech (DBA Agro Bio USA), which will now produce all the products in the microbial division for the Sorrento, FL-based company.
With the transition of manufacturing to Agro Bio USA came the launch of a new product in 2021—Rhizo Tonic Gold, a mix of organic molasses, a consortium of rhizo bacteria, and cold water seaweed extract. Rhizo Tonic Gold has been tested the past four years, and the data shows tremendous results for corn and potatoes.
“The yield is very impressive,” Lajeunesse said. “We increased from 220 bushels per acre all the way to 270. The national record-breaker in corn last year did 363 bushels per acre using Rhizo Tonic Gold as part of his protocol.”
Marc Lajeunesse, Founder, Agro Research International
Rhizo Tonic Gold helps increase plant nutrient uptake, resulting in higher yields.
“The yield is very impressive. … We increased from 220 bushels per acre all the way to 270.” – Marc Lajeunesse
“You see when a grower adds molasses to a crop, they may have an increase of maybe eight bushels per acre; if you add just the seaweed, they will have the same thing; and if you add the microorganism, you get another boost,” Lajeunesse said. “But when you add the three of them together with our formula, it is not just 1+1+1; the unique synergy increases incredibly, giving the grower a great ROI.”
Rhizo Tonic Gold's blend of bacteria helps unlock micronutrients such as organic acids, which break down nutrients tied up in the soil both in organic and inorganic forms.
Rhizo Tonic Gold was based on Kyte Gold, a soil amendment made of chitosan and a special chitosan-eating Bacillus introduced by Agro Research International in 2016. Then, a full line of biological soil amendments was developed under the Agro Gold family name featuring unique blends of synergistically developed Bacilli and other microorganisms to regenerate the soil and improve overall plant health.
“But when you add the three of them together with our formula, it is not just 1+1+1; the unique synergy increases incredibly, giving the grower a great ROI.” – Marc Lajeunesse
In 2021, Agro Bio USA is also launching PenGuan, penguin poop sourced from Chile that will be a game changer for organic farmers searching for a good source of organic phosphorus. PenGuan is a 1-9-1 fertilizer. The company will also soon be releasing PenGuan Gold, a combination of PenGuan and Agro Gold, a blend of synergistic microorganisms.
All the micronutrient products will be made in Yerington, Nevada at a new 15,000-sqaure-foot plant that will come online in September of this year and will be ready for production in early 2022.
“Agro Bio USA will have all the most advanced microbial reactors and a patented process that helps enhance the microbial activity in the tank,” Lajeunesse said. “From the facility, they will be able to supply to organic growers all over the country, and we’ll use different distribution centers to reach every grower that needs the products."
Agro Bio USA will also soon offer a service called Agro Gold RX, which is designed to improve a farm's soil biome. With this service, Agro Bio USA will go to a grower’s farm and evaluate the microorganisms in its soil. It will then isolate, improve, and multiply some of the microorganisms and later return them to the farm's soil.
“Agro Bio USA will have all the most advanced microbial reactors and a patented process that helps enhance the microbial activity in the tank.” – Marc Lajeunesse
“With unique equipment and team, Agro Bio USA can identify the various strains that a grower will need for a specific crop. They see the way they behave, can isolate 20 of them that can be positive, and start analyzing every one of them,” Lajeunesse said. “Each strain is given a score, and one may help germinate 100 percent and another 70 percent. At the end of the analysis, they end up with four or five that the grower needs for the intended crop.”
The four or five target microorganisms will then be sent to another part of the lab where they will be nursed back to health through a unique process and multiplied to create the Agro Gold RX prescription specifically tailored to the grower's crop.
The Agro Gold RX concept has been tested over the last few years, and in 2022, the company will go full force with operating the service.
“With unique equipment and team, Agro Bio USA can identify the various strains that a grower will need for a specific crop.” – Marc Lajeunesse
The history of Agro Research International dates back many years ago in Colombia when Lajeunesse was part of a joint initiative between the US, Canada, and Colombia that helped farmers transition from growing coca for illicit drugs to growing legal and profitable crops.
Later, Lajeunesse started testing and developing products such as seaweed and natural essential oil extracts with fungicidal, bactericidal, insecticidal, and nematocidal properties. And from this research, Thyme Guard was born.
Lajeunesse said his the initial focus was tackling citrus greening in Florida, which was devastating the citrus industry, and a Thyme Guard trial by the Mid Florida Citrus Foundation proved very successful, resulting in an increase in yield of 46 percent (reduction of fruit drop).
Growers took notice, and today, Thyme Guard is recognized as one of the most important ingredients in the fight against HLB and the most effective product to fight PFD and canker in citrus crops. Apple growers all over the country have also enjoyed the unique bactericidal effect of Thyme Guard on their orchards, and the banana industry currently utilizes Thyme Guard to combat the notorious Panama disease (also called fusarium 4th generation and Sigatoka Negra).
“I am proud of our diversified and unique team who is at work every day trying to find and develop sustainable solutions to grow more and better-quality food using as few resources as possible to feed an ever-growing worldwide population while leaving as small a footprint as possible,” Lajeunesse said.