Can you share a brief overview of your professional journey and how you started in your field?

I am a forest engineer. While I was at University, I used to be a student research assistant in different labs, but Plant physiology was the area where not only I felt comfortable it was where I felt in love with science. When I was studying forest sciences, I observed certain wild plants growing as monoculture and I wondered, why? Later, by carrying out my own experiments I learned that some trees in those regions released a chemical that allowed only those of the same species to grow, but not others of different species. Then I understood the allelopathic effect in ecology. Twenty years later, I started a company and purified the active ingredient from that tree, pinitol. We filed a patent about pinitol as a inhibitor-bio-weed controller, and I knew about the global companies and their interest in new active ingredients for herbicides. Today, my company is an extension of what I did when I was a bachelor student of forest sciences. The pinitol must be used at 60kg/ha, then the project was discarded.

As both an individual and a professional, what core aims and ideals do you prioritize that shape your decision-making and work approach?

While I was a student, I only followed my vocation in research and the pleasure I felt doing experiments in the lab. My ideal in those days was to become a scientist. But slowly I changed from Ph.D. student in biochemistry to an entrepreneur. I was full of know how in those days and I thought about how to help others in the industry with my experience. Some companies in Argentina told me that I was overqualified. Then I created my own company, and I did what I had thought: to produce natural compounds for the crop protection industry. Thus, I was completely educated in science and later I felt to help others with my experience. And that was what I did. Because science is like to cure, you do it for others. I learned that from one of my professors.

What sets you apart from your competitors in the industry? How do you differentiate your approach to create a unique value for your clients?

We started INBIOAR with María Lucía Travaini, when she had just graduated in biotechnology. She did her doctorate working in our company. Her research gave as a result our discovery platform that is unique. As a consequence, we are very different from our competitors because we have developed our own discovery platform. Again, we were seeking a scientific method to find bio-herbicides. As a result, we created a discovery platform. Our solid work brought outstanding professors and mentors to our company. They helped us focus on developing of bio-herbicides that worked. Many times it is easy to see plant extracts with bio-herbicide activity but, can they help farmers? This question was the North for our team: to help farmers.


Could you highlight the top-notch offerings of your company that clients find most compelling?

We screen the flora in the field and later, in the lab, we obtain plant extracts that we test against….Against what? Against what the clients ask to develop, based on their demands we help them to take a position in the market with new commercial products. We may discover plant extracts to control weeds, in some case without harmful effects on specific crops or vegetables. For example, we found 14 plant extracts that killed RR-maize but not RR-soybean! This is very specific, but we did it. Our research is in support of the commercial goals of our clients, primarily focusing on the discovery of natural active ingredients from plants for crop protection, such as bio-herbicides, bio-insecticides, bio-fungicides and stimulants.


What are the long-term objectives you have set for your company, and where do you envision the growth and evolution of your business in the coming years?

Lucia developed a discovery platform that we have optimized and can replicate in different parts of the world. We would like to increase the diversity of our products and we can do it by screening the flora in different regions in the planet. We are currently planning to install our company in Texas, in the US, after the success we have in Argentina. But other strategic regions, such as the Thar desert in India, Australia, the Sub Saharan region in Africa and other smaller deserts in Latin America, are in our way to find new bio-active ingredients for the crop protection industry.


Can you provide insights into some of your ongoing projects? What makes these projects particularly exciting or challenging?

The growing number of herbicide-resistant weeds that make the weed management increasingly difficult, is one of the critical topics we listen very often from our clients. They would like to find new herbicides to control what they cannot do with the available tools. What we do is a new area, where the new plant extracts and the new bioactive molecules can kill the weeds. We can help to solve the problem the farmers have today. We use in our screening process weed resistant biotypes to many different herbicides as targets. Thus, we can find extracts that kill them.

The environment is another issue. The conventional chemical technologies kill weeds, but the chemical remains in the soil many days, weeks and months. Why? Once the weed was killed, it does not make sense that the chemical remains in the soil because it is drag from there to everywhere, it is deposited in water sources, food, houses, clothes, etc. We think that biologicals will give us the chance to kill a weed plant and the bio-active ingredient will be faster bio-degraded.


Who in your life serves as a significant source of inspiration, and how have they influenced your career and personal development?

My professors at University were really great, but one of them Sergio Satler was without doubt who changed my way to think, to work, how I stand upstandup in front a biological problem. Sergio was not only a professor, but he was also a mentor for me.

I must mention to María Lucia Travaini. Nothing of what we are doing today could be done if Lucia was not there. Lucía has an impressive ability to make simple what is complex and difficult. At the end, working with Lucía, everyone can do a company!

About Recognitions and Accreditations:

We have a patent issued with the USDA (United State Department of Agriculture). The patent gave us a visibility in our “crop protection world” that it was not possible in another way. Dr. Stephen Duke a former USDA scientist, now in Mississippi University (Ole miss) brought a lot of know-how and visibility to our company. The support of Dr. Helmut Walter, former VP in BASF, was the first block that help us to build our company from the scientific and development points of view. Helmut’s advice transformed our project into a company.

The Council of Rosario City (where I live) awarded me a Distinction for the work we are doing with the bio-herbicides. It was a recognition to our team and the research we are doing. It gave us the chance to show our community what we do and for people to recognize a new way to control pests in the farms that would not harm the environment.

Reflecting on your career, what have been the most formidable obstacles you faced, and how did you overcome them?

Many times obstacles seem impossible to overcome. But you have to take a look into your “toolbox” and see what you have there to go forward. In the toolbox you need to have a team. The team is the most formidable tool to face everything you have to do. If you make a team, then there is nothing in front of you that is impossible to go through. Your research team, your administrative team, the investor team group must be solid. I am sure that everything we do is because we have a team.


How do you define success in your career, and how long did it take for you to achieve what you consider a successful position in your field?

My best definition of success is “the team we are”. Thanks we are a team we were able to have a patent issued, two papers, obtain plant extracts with bio-herbicide activity, etc. I can mention many different developments we have and goals we have achieved, all are in the website of INBIOAR ( but success in its purest expression is the team we are. I cannot think in a development process without it. See that I am not saying “my team”, but I am saying the team, because it is not mine, it is a team where I belong. I am one more in the team. I am very proud to belong to INBIAOR, because the team and the prestigious we reached in the last years with the work we are doing. We are invited to talk in different congresses to share with the academia and the industry what we are doing from Rosario.


Advice for Aspiring Leaders:

Find your vocation. Find it and grow with it. Feed it with knowledge. Be tireless. No matter your age, you can do more. The mistake is part of the game, it is not a barrier. Be gentle with others and make a team with those smart and good people. No matter how genius you are, no one wants to work with a fool. Find the best things in the simplest things. With the time they will be complex, but as Aristotle used to say, “we never will know things if we do not know from the beginning”. Everything is simple. Trust me.




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