Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Austin Wegener on Unsplash

Microbial seed dressings increase drought-resistance in crops

Agriculture & Energy

An Irish startup is developing seed coatings from symbiotic microbes that could increase crops yields and resilience

Spotted: Climate change is having a growing impact on crop yields and water availability, placing food supply chains under increasing pressure. To combat this, agritech innovators are working to improve crop resiliency and output. One of these is Irish startup CropBiome, which is developing natural seed coatings that can improve crop yield, reduce fertiliser use, and enhance plant resistance to stresses.

CropBiome first isolates beneficial microbes from wild relatives of commercial crops. These are tested and assessed before being formulated into seed coatings. These coatings are then applied to seeds or plants as a thin film. The product contains symbiotic microbes (endophytes) that aid the plant and produce healthier crops as a result.

The company has already amassed a large crypto-preserved collection of microbes, which have been sequenced and assessed for benefits to crops. This biobank provides a pipeline of discovery for future products.

CropBiome was spun out of University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin and has just secured €1.3 million in a seed funding round led by HBAN (Halo Business Angel Network), Enterprise Ireland, InterTradeIreland, and Invest Northern Ireland. The funding will be used to grow the company’s team and carry out trials with major seed distributors.

Innovations that improve crop yields and reduce chemical fertiliser use are a vital part of the fights against climate change. Some recent advances spotted by Springwise include a system that uses plant-derived molecules to help crops survive dry periods and research that suggests reductions in plant stress could lead to increased yields.

Written By: Lisa Magloff




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