Probiotics to be Key Player in Answer to Food Crisis?

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plant-microbiomeIn case you haven't heard about it, the agriculture industry has some extremely big challenges to address by 2050. With future generations depending on the action taken today, the pressure is on to feed an additional two billion mouths in T minus 34 years. if you're feeling concerned, that's a good thing. You should be.

Industry experts and science thought leaders have put their thinking caps on, with some putting probiotic technology to the test. We're especially excited about one of the more interesting initiatives happening in the startup world that Co Exist spotlighted.

To bring you up to speed, we've touched on the highlights below.

Who: Indigo, a Cambridge-based startup.

What: By now we're all quite familiar with the microbiome --good and bad bacteria that make up and surround humans, plants, and animals.  Using this principle of harnessing good microbes to combat poor plant health and production issues as their foundation, Indigo is creating probiotic-based inoculations.

When: Indigo has been conducting research for a few years but, according to Co Exist, they announced a $56-million funding round on February 18, 2016.

Where: The firm is based out of Cambridge. However, assuming things take off, the company's efforts will have a national -likely global- reach.

Why: With the agriculture community needing to find a way to feed two billion more people in just over three decades, Indigo is looking to beneficial microbes for creative and efficient ways to jump-start production. Their approach is simple: "By dosing seeds in healthy microbes, farmers can grow as much as 10% more food, and as the technology develops, yields may increase even more," reports the article.

How: For 730 days and some change, researchers from Indigo have been sequencing thousands of microorganisms in an effort to identify which good microbes have been depleted from plants and how to add these microbes back into the mix. Taking a preemptive approach, Indigo looks to microbial seed coatings as a way to enhance plant health and improve crop yields.

Inside Scoop

While we applaud Indigo's innovation, we'll let you in on something: We've been using beneficial microbes to promote plant health for almost two decades. To learn about our plant-centric probiotic treatments, visit our garden shop.

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