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AgTech Biotech

Precision injection system for plants

Oranges, olives, and bananas are already under threat in many areas due to diseases that affect plants’ circulatory systems and that cannot be treated by applying pesticides. A new method developed by engineers at MIT may offer a starting point for delivering life-saving treatments to plants ravaged by such diseases. The method uses an array of microneedles made of a silk-based biomaterial to deliver nutrients, drugs, or other molecules to specific parts of the plant. The work started in response to a request from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for ideas on how to address the citrus greening crisis, which is threatening the collapse of a $9 billion industry.

The microneedles designed for human use were intended to biodegrade naturally in the body’s moisture, but plants have far less available water, so the material didn’t dissolve and was not useful for delivering the pesticide or other macromolecules into the phloem. The researchers had to design a new material, but they decided to stick with silk as its basis. That’s because of silk’s strength, its inertness in plants (preventing undesirable side effects), and the fact that it degrades into tiny particles that don’t risk clogging the plant’s internal vasculature systems.

The technology has potential to be used to bioengineer disease-resistant varieties of important crops. In experiments with tobacco the researchers were able to inject Agrobacterium to alter the plant’s deoxyribonucleic acid – a typical bioengineering tool, but delivered in a new and precise way.

Read more at MIT News

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AgTech Biotech

MicroGen Biotech has raised $3.8 million to ensure better food safety and soil health

MicroGen Biotech has raised $3.8 million (€3.47 million) in a funding round led by a number of top US and European agtech investors. MicroGen Biotech is an Irish biotech startup company founded in 2012 by Dr. Xuemei Germaine and a spin-out of the Institute of Technology Carlow. It utilises patented isolation and high-throughput screening methods to isolate functional, high-performance microbiomes for application in agricultural crop production and environmental remediation.

It has a large database of microbes for degrading/immobilising a range of targeted pollutants from soil and for promoting plant growth. Its proprietary microbiome technology blocks the uptake of heavy metals by crops on land that has been contaminated.

MicroGen Biotech focuses on the global market in the Agri-Cleantech sector with specific target market in China. One fifth of Chinese arable land is polluted and stressed, the country has put in place a national safe food and clean soil program to reduce heavy metals. The China Soil Pollution Control Law 2019 encourages the prioritization of bioremediation measures to prevent pollutants from entering food crops.

MicroGen Biotech focuses on three major solutions:

  1. Environmental Bioremediation: Bioremediation is a treatment process that uses microorganisms (including bacteria) and plants to degrade toxic contaminants into less toxic or non-toxic substances.
  2. Plant Growth Promotion: A critically important component of the soil/plant microbiome are Plant Growth Promoting Bacteria or PGPB. Application of PGPBs to crop plants have been shown to significantly increase crop yield when used in low input agricultural systems.
  3. Stressed Agricultural Soil: Stressed soil can be a major inhibitor of agricultural production and globally represents a considerable loss in potential crop yield. Stresses can be biotic (e.g. plant pathogens and insect pests) or abiotic (e.g drought, salinity, heavy metals).

Read more at CarlowLive

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AgTech FoodTech

AgriFood Category Definitions

  1. Ag Biotechnology: On-farm inputs for crop & animal ag including genetics, microbiome, breeding, animal health.
  2. Agribusiness Marketplaces: Commodities trading platforms, online input procurement, equipment leasing.
  3. Bioenergy & Biomaterials: Non-food extraction & processing, feedstock technology, cannabis pharmaceuticals.
  4. Farm Management Software, Sensing & IoT: Ag data capturing devices, decision support software, big data analytics
  5. Farm Robotics, Mechanization & Equipment: On-farm machinery, automation, drone manufacturers, grow equipment.
  6. Midstream Technologies: Food safety & traceability tech, logistics & transport, processing tech.
  7. Novel Farming Systems: Indoor farms, aquaculture, insect, & algae production.
  8. Innovative Food: Cultured meat, novel ingredients, plant-based proteins.
  9. In-Store Retail & Restaurant Tech: Shelf-stacking robots, 3D food printers, POS systems, food waste monitoring IoT.
  10. Restaurant Marketplaces: Online tech platforms delivering food from a wide range of vendors.
  11. eGrocery: Online stores and marketplaces for sale & delivery of processed & un-processed ag products to consumer.
  12. Home & Cooking Tech: Smart kitchen appliances, nutrition technologies, food testing devices.
  13. Online Restaurants & Meal Kits: Startups offering culinary meals and sending pre-portioned ingredients to cook at home.
  14. Cloud Retail Infrastructure: On-demand enabling tech, ghost kitchens, last mile delivery robots & services
  15. Miscellaneous eg. fintech for farmers

Source: AgFunder AgriFood Funding Report

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Uncategorized

Latin America Biopesticides Market Overview

As demand for healthier foods increases, so does organic farming, and the government actively supports the use of biological pesticides by purchasing from suppliers and selling to farmers at a lower price. On a global scale, the United States remains the leading participant in the global biopesticide market, with 35% of total sales, being followed by China at a distance with just over 11%. Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico are enjoying a steady growth rate, reaching ranges of between 2% and 3% of total global sales. Overall, the global biopesticides market is projected to grow at a CAGR of just under 10% over the next five years, reaching nearly USD 3 billion by 2024.

The factors behind the increase in biopesticides demand are the restrictions on chemical pesticides, the need for residue-free products, and an increase in environmental awareness. In Chile, for instance, the benefits are related to the prospect of exporting products to foreign markets. Fruits and wines are susceptible to strict control of chemical traces, and the use of biopesticides is the best opportunity to export them without risking the protection and assurance of bio-production.

Read more at Kline & Company

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Uncategorized

What Are Bioproducts?

Bioproducts are defined as naturally occurring living organisms (bacteria, fungi, nematodes, insects, plants, etc.) and extracts of living organisms, used to control pests and diseases, enhance growth of and protect plants and animals in indoor and outdoor environments. Bioproducts basically fall into two categories – Biocontrol agents (or products) and Biostimulants.

Biological control – or biocontrol – is the use of living organisms, such as insects, or bacterial and fungal pathogens, to control pest populations. Biostimulants are products that stimulate natural processes in the plant or around the roots to enhance nutrient uptake, nutrient efficiency, increased tolerance to abiotic stress, and crop quality, vigour and yield.

Read more at SABO

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Uncategorized

Sustainable Inputs Drive South Africa’s Quest for Thriving Ag Market

Agriculture comprises 2.7% of South Africa’s GDP, employs 4.6% of its labor force of 22.2 million (of its 59-million-strong population), and is dominated by production of corn, wheat, sugarcane, fruits, and vegetables. Biopesticides, like in many developed ag economies, are in the nascent stage in South Africa and present untapped growth in Integrated Pest Management programs. Important export markets, most notably Europe, require stringent maximum residue limit (MRL) standards, which has increased buzz around and adoption of biosolutions. It isn’t just residue limits driving the market, but also pest resistance management, and the trend towards better quality and quantity in food production and ensuring a sustainable environment.

Read more at AgriBusinessGlobal