The development of bio-based coatings and cleaners requires vision, audacity and perseverance

With the reformulation of its entire product range into biodegradable, bio-based coatings and cleaners, Lumiforte is taking a big step forward in terms of sustainability. This, of course, also applies to the users of these products. R&D manager Mathieu Fiore gives a glimpse into the time-consuming, intensive development process, which began in 2019 and should be completed in a few years. The first updated coating will be introduced before the end of this year.

Researcher and product developer Mathieu Fiore was somewhat taken aback when Lumiforte's management asked him to make the entire product range bio-based.
"A wonderful, but challenging and time-consuming task," he says with a big smile. "The main issue is finding natural alternatives to our current binders, which are based on synthetic polymers. Natural binders come in countless varieties. The big challenge was to find a suitable candidate for universal use, with which we could achieve a good balance between long-term retention of the functional product properties - say, the coating's working life - and the ease of application and removal. The latter often requires a special cleaner, which likewise has to be bio-based."

Initial screening

The challenge was compounded by the fact that there was virtually no literature available to help Fiore along the way. "We had to do a lot of discovering ourselves, although, of course, quite a bit is known about the general properties of natural binders," he says. "First, we compiled a list of product categories that deserved further screening based on their overall characteristics. These include different types of starch, cellulose, polyvinyl alcohol and chitosan, which is made from chitin."

Organic binders

After that initial screening, the study focused on starches. These polysaccharides are obtained from cereal grains and potatoes, among others, and are both widely available and affordable. Moreover, there are numerous variants with specific properties and a great deal of experience has already been gained in modifying starches to enhance and perpetuate certain properties.
The R&D manager: "We used that knowledge and experience to develop our own modified starch. It is an excellent binder for our coatings, which, incidentally, also required some tinkering.

In fact, you have to reformulate every product to make it bio-based and biodegradable, and also give it almost exactly the same properties as the existing products, which are based on synthetic components. Last but not least, they should also be suitable for common application techniques. It remains a formidable quest to find the right components and bring them together to create a final product with all the desired properties."

Broad collaboration


To develop the new binder and other bio-based components for coatings and detergents, Lumiforte's R&D experts work closely with suppliers and experts from universities and research institutes. This takes place both in France and the Netherlands.
"The ultimate goal is to be able to offer growers around the world a range of coatings and cleaners that is fully tailored to their needs, 100% bio-based and biodegradable in water. The latter is preferable if the cleaning water is to be reused, e.g. for irrigation purposes. We are working hard on that, but there is also much work to be done. Each product will have to prove itself individually before it can be made available. That means testing over several consecutive years."

Initial launch in 2024


One product has now passed that testing phase and will be launched this year. This is a bio-based coating with a limited lifespan that gradually weathers under the influence of rain. "The fact is that the development process of our bio-based 'self-degradable' coatings is just a little less complex than that of our 'on-off' coatings, which you can remove using a special cleaning agent. These cleaners are also still being worked on. So far, everything is going pretty much according to plan, so I expect that we can look forward to several launches this year and next year related to our overall brand portfolio. In addition to ReduSystems and Sudlac for covered crops, this includes Selectline for marking sports fields and Coat-FX for applications in the industrial and service sectors.

Cookie policy

To offer you a better and more personal experience on our website, we use cookies and similar techniques. By use of these cookies your surfing behavior on our website can be monitored by us and certain third parties. Want to know more? Visit our cookie policy page.

Accept cookies Adjust settings