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Agricultural tech startup Indigo uses microbes to improve crops

| | April 18, 2018
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Image credit: Indigo Ag
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

In humans, a healthy microbiome—the universe of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that lives inside all of us—is increasingly recognized as critical to overall health. The same is true of the plant world, and [Indigo Ag Inc.] is among the dozen or so agricultural technology startups trying to take advantage of the growing scientific consensus. Their work is enabled by advances in machine learning and a steep reduction in the cost of genetic sequencing, used by companies to determine which microbes are present.

Indigo is the best-funded of the bunch, having raised more than $400 million.

The company’s first commercial products are focused on improving drought tolerance, one of the most difficult traits to address through genetic modification. … Indigo is also investing heavily in research and development efforts to see how microbes influence factors such as nitrogen use and pest resistance, aiming to reduce or even eliminate the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers as well as genetically modified seeds. With the general public rejecting chemical treatments and GMOs in favor of “natural” foods, Indigo is counting on a potentially multibillion-­dollar market.

Read full, original post: Scientists Want to Replace Pesticides With Bacteria

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