Indigo Ag registers novel biofungicide
Indigo Agriculture has registered the industry’s first biofungicide based on the microbe Kosakonia cowanii. The proprietary, EPA-approved biotrinsic product that is designed to suppress plant diseases will enter demonstration trials this crop season ahead of an anticipated 2023 market launch. Company officials say this development establishes Indigo’s portfolio as one of the few in the industry capable of helping farmers address both biotic and abiotic stresses.
“The accelerated three-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, Indigo Ag chief science officer and head of biological products, in a news release. “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.”
The biotrinsic by Indigo seed treatments reintroduce beneficial microbes that naturally surround or are present or within plant tissues, say company officials. The microbes enhance the natural ability of plants to protect themselves against common stresses, add company officials.
To do so, Indigo researchers and scientific partners have tapped into a growing collection of over 36,000 microbial strains (one of the world’s largest and most diverse microbial endophyte libraries). They 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, say company officials. The scientists test promising strains 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, say company officials.
The biofungicide introduced by Indigo Ag 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, the biofungicide is currently entering scaled field demonstration trials as part of biotrinsic beta fields. This program offers 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.
Farmers interested in a free preview of the product can enroll in biotrinsic beta fields. More information about Indigo’s biological products can be found online or at participating ag retailers who may find more information here.