In Germany, Bayer will partner with Ginkgo Bioworks to create a company focused on transformational beneficial microbes for plants to provide growers with next generation solutions to their biggest challenges. With initial activities focused on nitrogen fixation, the company will combine the synthetic biology leadership of Ginkgo Bioworks with Bayer’s deep knowledge and experience in agriculture and microbial products.
Improving the microbes’ ability to make nitrogen fertilizer available for plants offers a major potential benefit to sustainable agriculture. While some crops such as soybeans, peas and other legumes can pair with specific microbes that live within the plant and fulfill their nitrogen needs, most other crops cannot. Nitrogen fertilizer is therefore an essential component in modern agriculture.
Nitrogen fertilizer adds cost when used inefficiently and is a major environmental concern. The endophytic microbes to be developed by the company aim to provide a platform to flexibly deliver new agronomic advantages.