BASF SE (ETR:BAS) of Ludwigshafen, Germany, has been the world’s largest producers of chemical products for about the past decade. Near the end of September, BASF announced that it would begin a cost-cutting program to slow investments and make other corporate moves in the hopes of adding 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion USD) to the company’s earnings before interest and tax. The company just completed a transfer of some of its pharmaceutical business units, including its pharma custom synthesis business, to Siegfried Holding AG (SWX:SFZN) of Zofingen, Switzerland. BASF also just completed an asset swap with Gazprom PAO (MCX:GAZP) of Moscow, sending the gas storage and trading business owned by BASF’s subsidiary Wintershall of Kassel, Germany, for Gazprom’s oil and gas production assets of equivalent value.
One of the divisions within this German chemical corporation, which is dedicated to addressing the problem of insect pests, is BASF Pest Control Solutions. BASF produces such pesticides as Termidor termite defender and Alpine broad spectrum insecticide. Although the corporation is pulling back its investment in some areas, it recently opened a new facility in England to increase production of biochemical products designed for integrated pest management programs meant for agriculture and horticulture applications. BASF’s partnership with the University of Gottingen has lately yielded a new insecticide composition which has shown effectiveness against aphids, whiteflies and other sucking pests. Pesticides like this are just one part of an agrochemical market which some have predicted will eclipse $250 billion by the year 2020; we’ve taken a much closer look at pest control innovations recently in another recent post on IPWatchdog.
BASF is a very active acquirer of patents at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, placing 56th among all organizations worldwide with 752 U.S. patents received in 2014, a nearly 8 percent increase over its 2013 totals. The third quarter of 2015 saw BASF earn 183 U.S. patent grants from the USPTO, which represents a slightly lower pace of innovation than it enjoyed last year. The text cluster provided here from Innography’s patent portfolio tools shows us that most of the company’s recent R&D has focused on preparation processes, as well as some significant work in carbon atoms and composite materials.
BASF’s Issued Patents: Plenty of Pesticides and Removing Heavy Metals from Drinking Water
There were a trio of pesticidal innovations that we stumbled across during our most recent survey of BASF’s recently issued patents from the USPTO. U.S. Patent No. 9085541, titled Process for Producing Imine Compounds for Combating Invertebrate Pests, claims a process for producing a carbonyl compound which involves reacting a heteroaromatic halogen or sulfonate compound with a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen in the presence of a transition metal compound catalyst. This composition is useful for combating populations of arthropod pests and nematodes in a formula which is suitable for use in an industrial scale. The production of pesticidal compositions which aren’t as prone to degradation from environmental forces is discussed within U.S. Patent No. 9125411, titled UV Absorbers for Reducing the E/Z Isomerization of Pesticides. It protects a composition including metaflumizone and a sulfonic acid derivative of benzophenone serving as a UV absorber and present in an amount that is sufficient to effectively reduce the E/Z isomerization of metaflumizone. This innovation produces a pesticidal composition including metaflumizone, used to fight against parasitic fungi as well as mites, which is less prone to degradation by solar irradiation after application on crops. Compositions for the control of pests that would cause damage to wooden structures and commercial buildings is at the center of U.S. Patent No. 9125414, entitled Pyridine Derivatives Compounds for Controlling Invertebrate Pests. It claims a method of controlling and/or combating insects by treating those insects, their food supply and their habitat with an effective amount of a compound having a substituted or unsubstituted 5-membered heterocyclic radical. The compound of this invention has can be applied to protect against a broad spectrum of insect pests; the fact that this is a new pesticidal agent means that it can be used against pests that have developed a resistance to other pesticidal applications.
BASF’s agricultural innovations are not limited to pesticidal applications, as readers can see in U.S. Patent No. 9137984, which is titled Seed Treatment Compositions and Methods. It protects a method of treating seeds by applying an effective amount of a composition with an active ingredient to a lot of seeds, the composition including polyarylphenol polyalkoxy ether phosphate and/or polyarylphenol polyalkoxy ether sulfate and a copolymer having polyalkoxy ether side chains which serve to disperse a suspended active ingredient. This innovation provides a seed treatment composition which achieves a stable dispersion for a large number of agrochemicals in a single seed treatment composition.
BASF’s development of drinking water purification systems which comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines is reflected within U.S. Patent No. 9102551, entitled Media for the Removal of Heavy Metals and Volatile Byproducts from Drinking Water. This patent protects a water purification media including an activated carbon having a particle site distribution of 50 micrometers to 500 micrometers, a surface area ranging from 300 square meters per gram (m2/g) to 1,600 m2/g and a porosity of at least 0.25 cubic centimeters per gram (cc/g); the water purification media also has an amorphous titanosilicate which is a reaction product of aqueous reactants including a titanium compound and a silicon compound added to the activated carbon in a specific ratio to achieve a point of incipient wetness. This invention seeks to meet or exceed EPA guidelines in removing heavy metal and halogenated byproduct removal from drinking water while achieving improved taste, color, odor and flow rates.
Chemical products for the creation of paper products which have desired aesthetic properties are detailed within U.S. Patent No. 9074322, titled Paper Coating or Binding Formulations and Methods of Making and Using Same. It discloses a paper coating or binding formulation which includes an aqueous polymer dispersion of a copolymer prepared by polymerizing monomers containing styrene, butadiene, (meth)acrylamide, (meth)acrylonitrile and itaconic and/or (meth)acrylic acid; the formulation also includes a tetrasulfonate-based fluorescent whitening agent mixed with the aqueous polymer dispersion. This innovation enables the use of fluorescent whitening agents for paper coating products which can improve the brightness of paper while preventing increases to both the viscosity and the cost of the formulation.
Patent Applications of Note: More Pest Control Treatments and Producing Pharmaceuticals from Fish Oil
BASF intends to increase its pursuit of agrochemical development as we can see in a collection of patent applications recently filed by the corporation. U.S. Patent Application No. 20150237858, titled Method of Controlling Ryanodine-Modulator Insecticide Resistant Insects, would protect a method of controlling insects that are resistant to a ryanodine-modulator insecticide, like chlorantraniliprole and cyantraniliprole, by applying a pesticidally active anthranilamide to insects such as thrips, hoppers and whiteflies. This innovation reflects the surprising discovery that N-thio anthranilamides overcome an insect’s resistance to modern pesticides which are designed to interfere with the membrane-spanning domain of the insect’s ryanodine receptor. More uses for anthranilamide as a compound for pest control applications are detailed within U.S. Patent Application No. 20150250172, titled Use of Anthranilamide Compounds in Soil and Seed Treatment Application Methods. It discloses a method of controlling populations or preventing plant infestations of insects, arachnids or nematodes by contacting the soil or artificial growth substrate with a pesticidally active anthranilamide compound; the contacting of the soil with the anthranilamide compound is performed by drenching, drip application or soil injection. The use of anthranilamide in this invention is intended to improve the performance of pesticides which may become less effective when applied via certain soil treatment methods such as drenching or soil injection. The production of plants which aren’t susceptible to pest control compounds designed to remove invasive vegetation is featured within U.S. Patent Application No. 20150252379, which is titled Plants Having Increased Tolerance to Herbicides. This claims a herbicide-tolerant mutant protoporphyrinogen oxidase (PPO) enzyme comprising an amino acid substitution of alanine at a certain position and another amino acid substitution of either methionine, isoleucine or leucine at a different position. The genomic mutation of this invention is designed to produce a plant which is tolerant to benzoxazinone-derivative herbicides, allowing for the use of spray over techniques for applying herbicides to crop plants.
The production of liquid fuels is another area of research and development into which BASF has been investing its resources, as readers can see by the filing of U.S. Patent Application No. 20150275116, titled Use of a Reaction Product of Carboxylic Acids with Aliphatic Polyamines for Improving or Boosting the Separation of Water from Fuel Oils. The fuel additive suitable for use in fuel oils that would be protected here includes a reaction product of an aliphatic mono- or polycarboxylic acid, an aliphatic polyamine with nitrogen atoms and hydroxyl groups, an additive with detergent action as well as a solvent or diluent. The reaction product of this invention boosts the separation of water from fuel oils to reduce issue in fuel transportation or engine combustion when using water-laden fuels. The improved efficiency of natural gas processing plants is achieved by the technology discussed within U.S. Patent Application No. 20150233247, titled Method and System for Generating Energy During the Expansion of Natural Process Gas. It discloses a method for energy recuperation in the expansion of processed natural gas before its delivery to an acetylene production plant by delivering processed natural gas from a supply line at a certain temperature and pressure to a first heating stage, delivering the heated gas supply to a second heating stage, delivering the twice-heated processed gas to an expansion device, expanding the gas to achieve a certain pressure and delivering the processed gas to an acetylene production plant once the desired pressure is achieved. This invention was pursued in order to improve the utilization of energy released during natural gas expansion, which can waste heat energy.
Personal safety for individuals using an apparatus that may contain toxic or flammable gases is at the center of U.S. Patent Application No. 20150165250, which is titled Method for Diluting and/or Ejecting Clouds of Flammable Gases. This patent application claims a method for using a gas-jet curtain by diluting and/or ejecting clouds of flammable gases with a density lower than air from a containment having an outer opening and generating a gas-jet curtain by spraying non-flammable gases or liquids. This innovation, intended for use in chemical plants, enables flammable gases to be ejecting from a device in such a way that poses a reduced safety risk to workers in the vicinity.
Finally, we were piqued to take a closer look at an invention coming out of BASF’s
pharmaceutical division, detailed within U.S. Patent Application No. 20150166929, titled SMB Process for Producing Highly Pure EPA from Fish Oil. It claims a chromatographic separation process for recovering a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) product from fish oil feed mixture by purifying the feed mixture in a chromatographic first step to obtain an intermediate product, purifying the intermediate product in a moving bed chromatographic second step to obtain a second intermediate product, purifying the second intermediate product in a moving bed chromatographic third step to obtain the PUFA product; each separation step of this process utilizes an aqueous organic solvent as an eluent. This innovation is designed to improve the efficacy of producing pure fatty acid EPA, which has numerous therapeutic benefits for human subjects, from fish oil, a process which can often damage EPA by exposing it to oxygen.