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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

No need of GMOs when cotton can grow better with bacteria

Like good bacteria in our guts help us to maintain our health, similarly there are good bacteria that are beneficial for plants growth and health. A new treatment for cotton seeds drew a lot of attention.

Unlike GMOs, microbe enhanced cotton growth is now much accepted as the first product from Indigo Agriculture, and is already growing on 50,000acres of land in southern US. CEO of Indigo Agriculture, David Perry treatment increases yields as much as irrigation can.

A field of cotton from seeds treated with Indigo’s microbes. (Source: Technology Review)

Several international experts are arguing about global agricultural productivity is not fast enough to satisfy the global demand for food. On the other hand, there are intense pressures on availability of land, to reduce chemical fertilizers or pesticides and also on increase yield. So adding microbes could be effective and less controversial than using GMOs.

 Seed treatments containing such kind of useful microbes are called as “biologicals”. The microbiome that is associating with roots, surface of the plant or even inside the plant maintains health and growth. The idea was to isolate the good bacteria or fungi and then after successful analyzing and characterizing their properties, they are used back into the plant.

The recent advancement in computational biology and associating techniques of DNA sequencing made it more economical to work on huge database of microbial genetic information in search for insights that will help the crops grow faster and healthier. Indigo  has built a database of these microbes isolated from crops and thrive  extreme conditions.


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