BOOSTER-Mag update

Making Crop Protection Safer

BOOSTER-Mag update

2020 promises to be a great year for BOOSTER-Mag, with registration as a crop protection product now submitted and pending in Australia, and many more developments globally both in the lab and the field.


AFEPASA was founded in 1893 by Juan Pallarés Bosch under the name of ‘Azufrera y Fertilizantes Pallarés, SAU’. It began its business activity with the commercialisation of salt and installed a mill for its grinding. In a short time, it extended its activity to the milling of sulphur for agricultural use, focused mainly on the marketing of the product for crop protection, achieving a strong position in vine cultivation. In the 70s, and thanks to the fact that sulphur became an essential element in industrial processes, new markets opened up, such as the rubber, tyre, metallurgy and animal feed industries. In 2002, a new production centre was opened in Constantí, one of the most modern sulphur refineries in Europe, built under the concept of development sustainable in the future.

AFEPASA Mg commercialisation strategy

With more than 125 years of experience, AFEPASA is committed to protecting the environment and contributing towards sustainable agriculture. With this aim, it bases activity on one fundamental pillar: innovation in all its products and manufacturing processes. Made using Calix technology, AFEPASA Mg shares the key physical attributes and benefits of Calix nano-active MgO and Mg(OH)2 materials, including the non-lethal, beneficial insect suppression of crop pests and pathogens but without the health and safety concerns associated with standard crop protection chemicals. AFEPASA believes the product will be an important new tool for preventative crop protection and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programmes and will let growers substantially reduce conventional pesticide use, improving grower sustainability, productivity and improving safety outcomes for both growers and consumers.

AFEPASA managing director Manuel Montana said:

“For over 125 years, AFEPASA has supplied sulphur fertilisers and products for the sustainable control of crop pests and diseases. Calix’s bioactive magnesium hydroxide has the potential to be a powerful and highly complementary addition to our mineral fertiliser and crop protection portfolio.”


Results from further field trials.

AFEPASA Mg, containing Calix’s “nano-active” MgO, was introduced to a conventional treatment program, reducing the normal chemical dose on vines against powdery mildew.

Applying AFEPASA Mg enabled the farmer to reduce normal chemical treatment by 25%, as well as achieving a better crop protection outcome against powdery mildew, a notoriously difficult grape disease to treat.

Additionally, AFEPASA Mg alone was able to achieve a crop protection outcome nearly as good as conventional chemical treatment.


Meanwhile in Australia…

With the support of AusIndustry and grant funding provided through its Accelerated Commercialisation programme, Calix has now completed a five-year development and testing programme culminating in the January 2020 submission of a technical dossier to the APVMA* in support of the application by Calix for the registration of BOOSTER-Mag as a crop protection product in Australia. The initial label will describe its use in the suppression of whiteflies, two-spotted mites, thrips and aphids in tomatoes and cucurbits. These initial label claims will be extended in the future to cover additional pests, pathogens and crops.

All agricultural products that have or claim a clear role in pest, weed, or plant disease control must by law be assessed by the APVMA before they can be legally sold in Australia. For farmers, food producers, the chemical industry and the general public, registration indicates that claims have been rigorously assessed and verified and the product may be supplied or sold, and used safely, according to the label directions. This is another great milestone for BOOSTER-Mag.

*Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority is the Australian Government statutory agency responsible for the management and regulation of all agricultural and veterinary chemical products in Australia.

Making Crop protection safer

Calix and Afepasa enter 10-year distribution licence agreement for agriculture product

Calix Ltd (ASX:CXL) has executed its first bioactive magnesium hydroxide (known as BOOSTER-Mag) distribution agreement with Afepasa – – a European leader in sulphur-based fertiliser and crop protection products.

The distribution licence agreement for the magnesium hydroxide, known internally as BOOSTER-Mag, covers Europe, the Middle East and Africa for a period of 10 years as well as the marketing of Calix bioactive materials under Afepasa branding.

Manuel Montano, Managing Director of Afepasa, said:

“For over 125 years, Afepasa have supplied sulphur fertilisers and products for the sustainable control of crop pests and diseases. Calix’s bioactive magnesium hydroxide has the potential to be a powerful and highly complementary addition to our mineral fertiliser and crop protection portfolio.”

Calix’s safe and sustainable bioactive magnesium hydroxide materials have been under development for agricultural applications for over four years, with extensive testing over consecutive years on a variety of crops in Australia, Asia and Europe. Calix has demonstrated grower productivity, safety and sustainability can be substantially enhanced through thorough testing. The agreement targets a total addressable chemical crop protection market of over US$10b which is under increasing regulatory and sustainability pressures.

Calix’s commercialisation strategy for its bioactive materials through has been to pursue
a sales and marketing licensing model with crop protection companies and distributors, whilst continuing to manufacture active materials in-house. Calix commenced this process in 2017 and today marks a significant milestone in the first phase of execution with Afepasa.


Calix’s key milestones in this process are:

1. Initiate contact with the world’s largest crop protection companies (22 engaged).

2. If high level BOOSTER-Mag results already achieved are of interest – put in place Confidentiality Agreements and disclose more detailed data (12 in place).

3. If a counter-party wishes to progress commercial and technical negotiation – invest in their own due diligence (DD) trials – put in place Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs) to cover Intellectual Property terms and conditions to protect Calix’s interests as well as agreed trial scope and protocols (4 in place).

4. Proceed to license distribution arrangements (1 in place – covering Europe, Middle East and Africa)



Phil Hodgson, Managing Director of Calix, said:

“Development of new agricultural products takes time and significant investment. As a result it is very pleasing to have reached this significant milestone through partnering with a company of the reach and experience of Afepasa. We look forward to working with them to deliver the full potential of this application.”

Booster-Mag Safety Data Sheet

Evaluation on field tomato in Australia, Goulburn Valley

Evaluation on rice crops in Philippines, Apayao

Sustainable crop protection product BOOSTER-Mag

BOOSTER-Mag is a safe, low cost, environmentally sustainable and easy-to-apply foliar spray that can improve productivity and natural resistance to pests and diseases. We are pleased to have recently executed a fourth Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) for BOOSTER-Mag with another multinational crop protection company.

The MTAs represent a considerable investment of time and money by the counter-parties, following independent assessments of efficacy testing of BOOSTER-Mag over the past three years. Counter-party trials are currently in progress, which typically run for a minimum of two seasons, on specific crop, disease, and geographic region.

It is anticipated that Commercial licence arrangements for sales and marketing by crop, disease, and geographic region of BOOSTER-Mag will follow successful trials.

Calix continues to build the BOOSTER-Mag efficacy dossier necessary to achieve registration as a plant protection product in Australia.

A series of field tomato trials were completed over the 18/19 Australian summer to further quantify the effect of BOOSTER-Mag treatment on crop health and productivity.

The results show that relative to untreated controls, BOOSTER-Mag treatment coincided with statistically significant suppression for a range of damaging pests:

• Helicoverpa spp. (cotton bollworm): Victorian and Queensland trials yielded consistent and positive data with treatment in both trials reducing fruit damage at harvest by between 60 to 77%.

• Aleyrodidae (white Fly): Victorian trials indicate BOOSTER-Mag treatment coincided with a 65% reduction in pest pressure.

• Tetranychus urticae (two spotted mite). Queensland trials indicate BOOSTER-Mag treatment suppressed motiles (adults & nymphs) to greater extent than the grower standard chemical treatment.

R&D Update : a new pathway for treatment of diseases

There is a demand for products that treat diseases in humans, animals and plants, bypassing the use of expensive, toxic, antibiotics to which many diseases have become resistant.

A collaboration with Principal Researcher Dr. George Karagiannakis and his team at the research centre CERTH, in Thessaloniki, Greece, was established to test whether Calix’s nano-active Magnesium Hydroxide (MgO) produced with very high surface area, was a source of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS).

ROS generation in animals and plants leads to a mechanism considered as the first defense to combat most diseases that originate from pathogenic anaerobic microorganisms. CERTH uses spin-trap Electron Paramagnetic Resonance to quantify ROS.

The results confirmed that our nano-active MgO is a source of ROS, and furthermore a higher dose of ROS was generated as the particle was being hydrated. This implies that direct application could be effective against disease, because acids exuded by the pathogens will trigger a burst of ROS (“ROS Bomb”TM) when the particle meets the pathogen.

Calix has been awarded a Linkage Grant through the Australian Academy of Technological Science to investigate the “ROS Bomb” mechanism, and then set up a broad Australian-European collaboration with Calix and CERTH to explore its use in combating diseases.

A patent application has been filed covering this exciting new opportunity.

BOOSTER-Mag accepted into Food Innovation Australia Limited’s Book

Calix BOOSTER-Mag has been accepted into the third edition of Food Innovation Australia Limited’s (FIAL) book, ‘Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations, ’which showcases 50 diverse innovations that span the entire food value chain.

FIAL is an industry-led, government funded initiative that works to grow Australia’s food and agribusiness industry through innovation and collaboration.

BOOSTER-Mag has been manufactured using Calix’s mineral processing technology, Calix Flash Calcination (CFC), which produces unique, high-activity, and non-toxic minerals that are proving to be bio-active against common plant pests and pathogens.

Phil Hodgson, CEO, Calix, said, “Global concern regarding the adverse environmental, production, and consumer impacts of chemical use in the agronomy sector is driving rapid change. Calix saw an opportunity to apply its CFC technology to pest and disease control in agriculture.

“The ability of bio-active minerals to inhibit common plant diseases and insect pests had already been established and reported. However, high production costs, the inability to manufacture at scale, and health and environmental concerns regarding nano-sized particles had prevented their use in agriculture. Despite these challenges, Calix knew it had the innovation, technological capacity, and scientific knowhow to develop safe and effective bio-active mineral products competitively.”

Following multiple trials in the lab and field, Calix developed BOOSTER-Mag as a low-cost, safe pest and disease control product. An Australian government ‘Accelerating Commercialisation’ grant let Calix undertake independent assessments to validate the product’s safety and effectiveness. The product can easily be applied via conventional farm equipment and, unlike many development products, BOOSTER-Mag can already be manufactured at commercial scale. A clear point of difference to other pest and disease control products is that BOOSTER-Mag’s magnesium base is an important contributor to plant health.

Phil Hodgson said,

“BOOSTER-Mag is already being applied at full-farm scale by commercial growers and has the potential to minimise and, in some cases, even eliminate the use of conventional pesticides. It is also demonstrating reduced grower production costs without compromising yield and quality.”

BOOSTER-Mag takes another step toward international licensing

Calix has executed a material transfer agreement (MTA) covering a multi-crop trial of its BOOSTER-Mag crop protection product with a major global crop protection corporation. This is a major step in the commercialisation pathway for BOOSTER-Mag and marks the second MTA executed with a multinational crop protection company.

An MTA sets out the agreed trial protocols and IP ownership terms and conditions during the counter-party’s detailed due diligence and testing of the product. It requires a considerable investment in time and money from the crop protection companies, and follows their assessments of independent efficacy testing of BOOSTER-Mag over the past three years.

Calix’s strategy for BOOSTER-Mag is to pursue a sales and marketing licensing model with crop protection companies while continuing to manufacture the product in-house.

(See picture to left) BOOSTER-Mag is gaining further international attention with Rob van Merkestein, BOOSTER-Mag’s business development manager, presenting a paper on our three years of tomato trials in Victoria at the ISHS 13th World Processing Tomato Symposium in Greece in mid-June this year.