Strain Improvement for Sustainable Agriculture

Overview

What if agriculture could be redesigned from the ground up?

Ginkgo and Bayer have partnered to accelerate the research and development of biological products for agriculture. Together, we’re engineering plant microbes to solve growers’ greatest challenges.

Nitrogen Fertilizer

5%

Total worldwide natural gas used

3%

Contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions

Our Partnership

Bayer’s expertise in plant biologics and Ginkgo’s automated foundry can be used to revolutionize agricultural biologicals. We are capitalizing on the power of the plant microbiome to improve strains from pest control to enhanced nutrient acquisition, and resistance to crop disease.

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The plant microbiome is essential for global farming practices, but the power of microbes is largely untapped. Ginkgo’s Foundry, enables our microbiologists and engineers to test thousands of samples at a time thanks to high throughput automation. This allows systems-level analysis of thousands of strains isolated from soil and rapid prototyping of engineered strains, which are then tested in greenhouse and field conditions at our 12,500 square foot testing facility in Woodland, CA.

Reducing Nitrogen Fertilizer

Bayer’s goal is to reduce the amount of industrial nitrogen fertilizer used to grow crops like corn, wheat, or rice. The industrial production and application of nitrogen fertilizer uses an estimated 3% of total worldwide natural gas and contributes to 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions. By enabling microbes to produce nitrogen in the roots of non-legume crops that can’t fix nitrogen themselves, we could dramatically decrease agriculture’s environmental and energy footprint. Currently, we’re putting our engineered, nitrogen-fixing microbes to the test in field trials throughout the US.

Ginkgo and Bayer are engineering plant microbes for sustainable agriculture at a scale beyond traditional genetic engineering. Read here for more information.