BioConsortia plans U.S. and international rollout of nitrogen-fixing microbial products
BioConsortia, Inc., a Davis, California-based microbial agriculture firm, has announced plans to commercialize its nitrogen-fixing microbe products in the United States next year. Field trials for these products are currently in progress in Brazil, and commercial availability is anticipated in Brazil, India, and China by 2025 or 2026.
According to Marcus Meadows-Smith, CEO of BioConsortia, the nitrogen-fixing microbial products convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia. This process replaces the need for traditional fertilizers and can increase crop yields. “We discovered microbes that can colonize the root systems of corn, wheat, and fruit and vegetable crops,” said Meadows-Smith. The firm aims to achieve a 25% reduction in fertilizer use for certain fruit and vegetable crops, and a 10-15% reduction for row crops.
In addition to fertilizer reduction, BioConsortia is targeting a 3.5% increase in yields for row crops. Meadows-Smith explained, “What we are doing here is working with microbes that deliver increased ammonia, leading to increased yields regardless of the amount of nitrogen fertilizer a grower uses.”
While nitrogen-fixing microbial products already exist, Meadows-Smith points out that these can be difficult to use, often requiring cold storage and a short shelf life of up to 24 hours on soil. In contrast, BioConsortia’s products can be stored on a seed for up to 18 months and can be combined with other treatments like fungicides and insecticides.
The commercialization is a joint effort with Mosaic, BioConsortia’s sales and marketing partner in China and India, as well as in the Americas for row crops. “Mosaic has a distribution channel for fertilizer applications,” Meadows-Smith noted. The company is also in search of a distribution partner for the fruit and vegetable market in the Americas, as Mosaic does not have existing distribution networks in that segment.
Mosaic will contribute to manufacturing through its in-house fermentation capacity, which it acquired in a 2022 deal with biologicals firm Plant Response. The initial production will be in the U.S., with local manufacturing in other countries planned as market demand grows. “The idea is that it will be first produced just in the U.S., but as we get customers in other parts of the world, we will add manufacturing in other countries,” Meadows-Smith said.