Can technology make more natural pesticides?

24-08-2020    14:25   |    Forbes

A new collaboration between the two R&D pioneers aims to accelerate the discovery of breakthrough crop protection technologies

If you ask two farmers what it really takes to bring healthy and affordable food to market, you’ll probably get four or five different answers. The reason: there are a thousand local variations in soil, weather, and farming practices, just as there are a thousand natural forces working against a crop at any given time. Insects, weeds, and diseases evolve relentlessly to overcome whatever farmers throw at them.

But can nature’s evolutionary bounty be harvested for solutions to these challenges, too?

Zymergen, a biomanufacturing company at the forefront of synthetic biology, thinks so. Today, it announced a new partnership with agricultural sciences company FMC -0.5%FMC Corporation to develop new crop protection solutions to growers around the world. In combining the two companies’ formidable discovery and development capabilities, the partners aim to build the world’s best and fastest pipeline for bringing new natural products to growers.

“Growers have to be pretty savvy in order to use the right solution for their problem,” says Kathleen Shelton, FMC’s Chief Technology Officer and Vice President Research & Development. FMC makes local solutions to local problems so farmers can make the most profitable use of their land, she says.

FMC understands what farmers need to protect their crops, and a key feature of the partnership involves searching Zymergen’s vast molecular library—the largest metagenomic database in the world—to find natural products to do that.

Photo: Zach Serber, CSO and Co-founder of Zymergen

Source and Photo Courtesy Forbes

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