As per European legislation, a biocide is a microorganism or chemical substance meant to destroy, render harmless, deter or control a harmful organism through either biological or chemical means. Some types of biocides sold in the global biocides market include metallic compounds, halogen compounds, organic acids, organosulfur, phenolics and many others. Biocides are widely used in wood preservation, water treatment, personal care, food and beverages and the paint and coating industry.
Biocides find application in the painting industry as an additive that prevents the paint from getting spoiled during lengthy storage periods and it also prevents algae and fungi from growing on the paint. The damage to any surface coated with paint or coating material caused by the microbial attack is always an area of great concern in the painting industry. Polymers help prevent degradation of sensorial and physical properties, both inside the material and on the surface. Silver based biocides are useful in consumer products because of their high thermal stability and environmental safety. Organosulfur biocides are used in oil refineries as they are less reactive than Hydrochloric acid (HCl) or a mixture of HCl and Hydrofluoric acid (HF). Yet the largest market share is still held by halogen compounds.
The water treatment sector is likely to be a good consumer of biocides and it is anticipated to be the biggest driver of future growth as well. This is largely due to ever-rising demand for treated water for both industrial and municipal use from various end-use industries across the world. A rapidly growing population, especially in developing countries is expected to fuel further demand as clean water is essential and is becoming more difficult to access. An emphasis by governments in both developing and developed countries on clean water supply should expand the size of the global biocides market. Biocides provide nearly unparalleled benefits in water treatment, amongst many other sectors.
Another key area predicted to show growth is the food and beverage industry. Developed countries in North America and the European Union have extremely stringent safety norms that must be complied with. In addition, the Asia Pacific region has a growing food and beverage industry. Food preservatives have seen a rapid uptake in adoption worldwide as people wish to store food for longer periods of time. These factors should benefit the biocides market in the food and beverage industry.
Greater focus on the environment and eco-friendly product emphasis is expected to be the third major driver of the global biocides market. Halogen compounds may be of use in this case as they are powerful bacterial growth control agents. Halogen compounds are cost-effective, efficient, can be used in a variety of applications and encounter relatively lower resistance. Biocides that comply with increasingly stricter environmental norms should find a ready market in the developed world and there are even eco-friendly biocides and organic acids now that are relatively easier to market in these regions.
North America is anticipated to be the largest region for biocides. This is owing to the presence of a large number of companies in the region – specialising in nearly every industry including food and beverages, water purification and painting and coating, all of which are the largest consumers of biocides. The market to target for future growth is undoubtedly the Asia-Pacific region, led by China and closely followed by India.
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The main reasons for this are – a large amount of investment being made in the water purification industry to cater to the vast population’s demand for clean water, a painting industry that will grow in tandem with urbanisation and construction activities, and an eventual focus on environmentally friendly products. Europe is a largely mature market and is not anticipated to show much growth in the forecast period.
Some of the key market players in the biocides market include Melzer Chemicals Pvt. Ltd., The Dow Chemical Company, Baker Hughes Incorporated, and AkzoNobel NV.