Improving Crop Yield and Stress Resilience
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization forecasts that world food production will have to increase by 70 per cent by 2050 to meet the needs of a growing global population. This challenge is exacerbated by such factors as diminishing freshwater resources, rising energy prices and the need for crops to adapt to the pressures of a drier, hotter and more extreme global climate.
The Augmenting the Plant Microbiome to Improve Crop Yield and Stress Resilience (PLM) project aimed to develop breakthrough microbial products that can colonize crop hosts and substantially improve seed germination, yield, and drought-and heat-stress resilience. The products have been successfully tested in over 20 genotypes of wheat, barley, canola, and pulses – crops that account for more than $15 billion in annual production in Canada alone.
The success of this project would result in generating first-in-class technologies for addressing the needs for improved yield, heat tolerance, and drought resilience in spring wheat, durum wheat, canola, field pea, corn, soybean, barley, and lentils. The successful partnership of Dr. Vladimir Vujanovic and his team at the University of Saskatchewan with Ray Riley of Indigo Ag resulted with a total project value of over $20M dollars.
Microbiologists Vladimir Vujanovic and Jim Germida have discovered a group of microbes within plant cell tissues that have novel genomic mechanisms of plant interaction, enabling substantially improved seed germination, yield, and drought- and heat-stress resilience in more than 20 varieties of wheat, barley, pulses, and canola.
Throughout the partnership with Indigo Ag, there was extraordinary development and success of Indigo Ag as it has grown into a company of more than 300 employees and has raised more than $400M from investors.
This project has also enabled Dr. Vujanovic to develop a microbiome metagenome platform – based on next-generation DNA/RNA technologies.