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Mosaic, AgBiome collaborate to develop biological plant nutrition products

AgBiome’s microbe collection may improve fertilizer efficiency.

Ag input suppliers are betting big on microbial solutions for plant nutrition, and the Mosaic Company is one of the latest to enter the fray.

Last week, Mosaic – a producer and seller of phosphate and potash crop nutrients – entered into a strategic collaboration with AgBiome, a company with one of the world’s largest collections of diverse microbial communities. The goal is to discover, develop, and launch biological solutions to enhance soil fertility, the companies said in a press release. 

The collaboration will leverage AgBiome’s proprietary GENESIS platform, which comprises the world’s largest, most diverse, fully-sequenced collection of microbes coupled with innovative product discovery technology. Mosaic will lend its industry-leading expertise in soil health and product development, as well as its global distribution and sales network. Together the companies expect to find solutions that can be added to Mosaic’s soil health portfolio.  

“It’s exciting to collaborate with a global agriculture powerhouse like Mosaic,” says Tracy Raines, chief innovation officer at AgBiome. “Our work together, focused on soil health, demonstrates the grower’s demand for natural, biological solutions to enhance soil nutrition – leading to better crop quality and yield.”

In business since 2013, AgBiome recently launched a bio-fungicide, “Howler,” which uses microbial activity to prevent soilborne and foliar disease in several vegetables, specialty crops, and turf. AgBiome uses its proprietary collection of 90,000 microbes – all sequenced – to find solutions for crop protection. The company has a short-term goal of 1 million sequenced microbes. 

“These are novel microbes and products that address the problems facing growers today,” Raines told Successful Farming in an interview. “We’ve looked to expand our reach to new areas, including soil nutrition and animal health.” Raines says the company has a collaborative agreement with Elanco Animal Health for biological nutritional products in swine.

In the agreement with Mosaic, AgBiome will seek to discover microbes that naturally free up nutrients already in the soil, reducing the need for synthetic fertilizer applications. “There are microbes likely in our collection already that we just haven’t looked at yet,” Raines says. “We can use a lot of the same approaches we’re already using to build out the soil nutrition area.” 

AgBiome and Mosaic will work to develop innovative agricultural technologies that help growers increase nutrient use efficiency and ultimately minimize fertilizer loss to the environment. AgBiome aims to have Mosaic-branded products that use less synthetic fertilizer and work synergistically with the soil on the market in five years. Yet, the science can be unpredictable, Raines says.  

“Our collaboration with AgBiome is part of a larger, multipartner effort at Mosaic to expand the company’s soil health offerings,” says Kim Nicholson, vice president–ag technology and innovation at The Mosaic Company. “Now, more than ever, growers are interested in engaging with companies that recognize the need for soil conservation strategies.”

AgBiome has 100 employees, half of which are charged with research and development. The company has generated $116 million from three series of fund-raisings. 

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