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Seeds with ‘optimal’ microbiomes could boost yield

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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

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A new treatment for cotton seeds draws on beneficial microbes that live inside plant. . . to help the crops thrive in dry conditions.

The microbe-enhanced cotton, . . . from startup Indigo Agriculture, is already growing on 50,000 acres . . . in the southern United States. Indigo CEO David Perry says the treatment increases yield as much as irrigation can. . . .

. . . .

Seed treatments containing such microbes are part of an emerging class of agricultural technologies known as “biologicals.” . . .

. . . . But most of what’s on the market now is focused on organisms that live in soil. Indigo’s focus is on so-called endophytes, or the bacteria and fungi that actually live in the plant tissue.

. . . .

Tyler McClendon, president of Oxbow Agriculture. . . says . . . Indigo’s focus on isolating specific microörganisms that . . . help plants thrive under stress makes more sense than the “broad based,” soil-focused approaches. . .

McClendon says Indigo’s business model is also unique. . . the final cost of the technology to the farmer is tied to a “measurable increase in crop yield.” . . . . McClendon says this. . . makes farmers more receptive and could speed the adoption of new biotechnologies.

Read full, original post: New Way to Boost Crop Production Doesn’t Rely on GMOs or Pesticides

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