Indigo Agriculture announced the expansion of its industry-leading biological seed treatment capabilities with the registration of the industry's first biofungicide based on the microbe Kosakonia cowanii. The proprietary, US EPA-approved biotrinsic product, designed to suppress plant diseases, will enter demonstration trials this crop season ahead of an anticipated 2023 market launch. The milestone establishes Indigo's portfolio as one of the few in the industry capable of helping farmers address both biotic and abiotic stresses.
"The accelerated 3-year discovery and registration process for this new biofungicide – which we believe to be the most rapid in the industry – places Indigo on the leading edge of an emerging $7.3B market for stress mitigation solutions," said Eric Bartels, Chief Science Officer and Head of Biological Products at Indigo Ag. "Across all our products and development targets, Indigo is putting a robust discovery platform to work for farmers, harnessing nature to give them a profitability advantage under increasingly unpredictable and extreme environmental conditions. This milestone is the latest example of how nature-based technology can complement farmers' existing production systems with new ways to boost crop productivity and resilience."
Inspired by insights from the human microbiome, biotrinsic by Indigo seed treatments reintroduce beneficial microbes naturally present around or within plant tissues. They enhance the natural ability of plants to protect themselves against common stresses. As part of its unique focused sourcing approach, Indigo researchers and scientific partners tap into a growing collection of over 36,000 microbial strains (one of the world's largest and most diverse microbial endophyte libraries). They rigorously identify those linked with increased performance in high-stress conditions such as drought, nematode and disease pressure, and nutrient-deficient soils across different regions and crop types. Promising strains are extensively tested both in lab and scaled real-world conditions. The most successful ones are then commercialized and join Indigo's comprehensive portfolio of seed treatments demonstrated to help farmers improve yield.
The biofungicide introduced today was derived from a unique strain of Kosakonia cowanii isolated from a seed of a historic corn landrace. This microbe colonizes the root surface and suppresses plant pathogens including Fusarium, Pythium, and Rhizoctonia through multiple mechanisms leading to the stimulation of the natural defense system of plants. In trials, the product consistently demonstrated direct, significant improvements in key indicators of plant health including root weight and full-emergence. Registered for use in cereal grains, corn, soybean, cotton, legume vegetables, and oil seeds, it is currently entering scaled field demonstration trials as part of biotrinsic Beta Fields, a program offering farmers and ag retailers free and early access to some of the latest biological technologies to improve crop resilience. It is expected to be commercially available nationally in several formulation types at select ag retailers as early as next year.