AUG 11, 2016 3:26 PM PDT

Plant Microbiome Promises Higher Crop Yield

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

As scientists are uncovering the many unique microbiomes within our bodies, they are learning to exploit bacteria to treat the diseases that plague us. On a similar note, botanists and ecologists want to take advantage of natural bacteria to grow healthier food crops that can meet the demands of the world's ever-growing population.

This is the aim of start-up company Indigo, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Their goal is to customize a cocktail of microbes that would enable the plants to be more tolerant of heat, drought, insects, and other conditions.

While some people associate bacteria infection as being the death of their plants, scientists at Indigo say an infusion of the good bacteria can do wonder for crops. They say using the plant's natural microbiome has the potential to significantly increase crop yield across the board. And this is particularly important we want to keep feeding the population in a sustainable fashion.

"If we're right, this is an innovation that is going to create tens of billions of dollars a year in revenue," said David Perry, Indigo's chief executive. "From a farmer's perspective we can improve their profitability. From a consumer's perspective we can improve the healthfulness of the food and the environment in which it is grown."
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
DEC 10, 2019
Space & Astronomy
DEC 10, 2019
Do Nebulae Actually Look This Impressive?
Astronomers often turn to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope when they fancy observing any of the plethora of distant nebulae in outer space. Nebulae are...
DEC 10, 2019
Earth & The Environment
DEC 10, 2019
Greenland's Ice Sheet is Experiencing "Worst-Case Scenario" Loss
Greenland’s Ice Sheet—which covers 75% of the land’s mass—is melting at a rate aligned with “worst-case scenario” sea l...
DEC 10, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 10, 2019
The Real Reason Why Flamingos Are Pink
Flamingos are highly discernable birds best known for their bright pink appearance and long, thin legs. But have you ever wondered why these birds are the...
DEC 27, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
DEC 27, 2019
Measuring Radiation: What's in the Names?
What do the Curie couple, Henrie Becquerel, Louis Harold Gray, and Ralf Sievert, have in common? These radiation pioneers defined the way we measured ioniz...
DEC 31, 2019
Plants & Animals
DEC 31, 2019
There's More to a Cat's Whiskers Than You Think
Cats may be enjoyable pets, but their true roots go back to incredibly predacious creatures with bodies that have been evolutionarily adapted for hunting p...
FEB 18, 2020
Plants & Animals
FEB 18, 2020
This Wasp Turns Cockroaches Into Zombies for its Larvae
We can’t think of anyone that likes cockroaches, but one insect in particular seems to scout them out specifically for its own bizarre reasons. The e...
Loading Comments...