Microbial technology in biological seed treatment

Indigo experts talk about the microbial technology developed by the company

21.07.2021 | 20:59 (UTC -3)

One of today's biggest challenges has been producing enough food safely for the future and, at the same time, interfering as little as possible with the environment. Unfortunately, many interventions have already been carried out and we realize that the attack of pests, diseases, lack of water and soil contamination compromise the development of plants and impact the achievement of good productivity.

Biological products have increasingly proven themselves as markers between the problems generated by modern agriculture, increased productivity, environmental preservation and the production of quality food. They bring direct benefits to the production system, such as reducing the use of agrochemicals and mineral fertilizers, in addition to minimizing abiotic and biotic stresses, improving plant performance and soil health. All of this at a low cost, when compared to traditionally adopted methods.

A successful case of the use of biological products is the use of species of the genus Bradhyrhizobium as nitrogen fixers in soybean crops [Glycinemax (L.) Merr.], which placed Brazil at the top among countries that use low-cost renewable sources to meet the demand for nitrogen in this crop, bringing savings to cultivation, in addition to enormous environmental contributions (Hungria & Mendes, 2015 ).          

The microbial technology developed by Indigo is based on the assessment of specific microbiomes and the selection of endophytic (endo: within, phytic: of plant) microorganisms, which have developed mutually beneficial partnerships with plants for eons. By exploring each microbiome of interest, we have built the world's largest collection of endophytes that are used to improve plant performance.      

The combination of data generated by machine learning, combined with biotechnology tools, allows us to quickly identify beneficial candidates. A series of screenings and field tests complement the identification of the most effective strains, allowing the optimization of formulations and microbial concentrations to guarantee maximum survival in seeds and bring greater benefit to the plant.      

The microorganisms selected for seed treatment quickly colonize plant tissues at one of the most important moments for plant establishment: germination. At this moment, and dynamically, its movement begins towards the radicle, which begins to be emitted. Thus, endophytic microorganisms enter and leave plants mediating solubilized nutrients, which increases tolerance to stress and defends them from attack by pathogens and insects, as well as improving their development and even suppressing the growth of volunteer plants.

The “dance” of interaction between endophytes and host continues throughout the life of the plant and also improves soil health with an increase in organic matter, which can benefit the next planting. Such selected microorganisms can actively influence host physiology as a result of phytohormones production, nitrogen fixation, inorganic phosphate solubilization, micronutrient supply, promotion of photosynthetic activity, induction of plant defense system and antibiotic production.

The productivity of modern agriculture is strongly influenced, not only by the plant's own genetic codes, but also by microorganisms present in the stems, roots, soil and around them. The addition of selected microorganisms to the seed coating, together with compatible chemicals, can guarantee successful planting, benefiting the soil, the environment, and also bringing greater profitability to the producer, with direct positive impacts on the health of each individual. us. And investment in science is fundamental to this. 

Ellen Noly Barrocas, PhD and Product Development Manager at Indigo

Steven Screen, Head of Plant Physiological Analysis at Indigo

Reinaldo Bonnecarrere, Latam Director of Biologicals at Indigo

Mosaic Biosciences March 2024