The story of genomics in commercial agriculture resonates with transformation, one where cutting-edge technology intersects with the age-old practice of farming. With the arrival of microarray and next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, agriculture is being revolutionized at another level never witnessed before in the history of the industry. These innovations have become the bedrock of modern farming and breeding practices, offering a glimpse into the future of agriculture.

At the center of this revolution lies the concept of genomic selection and trait screening. Gone are the days of relying solely on physical traits to guide breeding choices. Today, genetic markers are the torchbearers, leading the world toward a new era of selective breeding. These markers are linked to specific values and traits, allowing scientists to screen vast numbers of plants and animals and identify those with the desired characteristics. It’s an ideal solution for traits that are complex, multigenic, and challenging to manage using traditional methods. This technique has not only improved breeding efficiency but also enhanced the precision of trait selections.

The shift towards genomics has resonated with dairy cattle farmers, where genomic testing is rewriting the rules of the game. Cattle farmers around the world have been on record attesting to the power of genotyping, with different experiences that speak of doubled production, longer-lasting cows, and the promising future benefits that genotyping technology offers.

Genomics is also being used to tackle nutritional and environmental challenges, bringing about a transformation in bovine assessment. These efforts strengthen cattle herds and address the challenges of modern livestock farming.

Crop breeding hasn’t been left behind by genomics, and the technology of marker-assisted backcrossing has gained a great deal of prominence in the industry. At advanced levels, the technique, which involves the use of microarrays and NGS, allows researchers to swiftly transmit a single trait of interest from a donor parent to the progeny. This results in a significant reduction in the time required to release commercially viable plant lines or breeding stock. This innovation has paved the way for breakthroughs in crop development, changing the food supply chain on a global scale.

READ: The Rise of Biological Solutions in Sustainable Agriculture

In countries like Brazil, which is the world’s second-largest beef producer and largest beef exporter, genomic selection is being applied in cattle breeding. The technology has greatly improved the breeding of zebu cattle in the country while simultaneously reducing the environmental impact. Other countries are now emulating the same as they seek to meet the growing demands of a burgeoning global population.

Genomics also has the potential to offer a lifeline for the biosecurity of animal populations, with companies having developed genotyping platforms that provide the needed speed, reliability, and scalability for animal identity verification and parentage testing, especially for large-scale producers.

The rise of new infectious diseases among animal populations has prompted a reevaluation of diagnostic tools. Next-generation sequencing has emerged as a game-changer in the field of metagenomics, enabling rapid detection of infectious agents and tracking disease outbreaks. As the world faces evolving health challenges, genomics provides a dynamic and essential solution for safeguarding animal populations.

In cases where single markers may not yield conclusive results, multiple genetic markers come to the rescue. These markers are crucial in identifying animals and determining parentage, particularly in linebreeding situations. It’s a harmonious blend of science and tradition, ensuring the lineage of each animal.

But genomics doesn’t stop at the farm gate. Environmental DNA (eDNA) sequencing is emerging as a vital tool for studying biodiversity without disrupting ecosystems. From biodiversity surveys to ballast water testing, genomics has the potential to transform our understanding of the environment.

Genomics is also at the center of the production of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), playing a major role in the molecular characterization of organisms. The efficiency and consistency of NGS have made it the go-to method for event selection and regulatory approval. This transformation has not only benefited the agricultural sector but has also ensured safety and compliance with industry standards and ethics.

Soil metagenomics is another exciting frontier. By understanding and characterizing soil microbial communities, scientists can now optimize land management, crop rotation, and the use of pesticides and fertilizers. It’s a soil-to-plate journey where genomics plays a central role in ensuring the health of crops.

In the grand tapestry of agriculture, genomics is the thread that weaves tradition with innovation and science with practice. As the world embraces this new age of agriculture, we must remember that our roots are firmly planted in the soil, but our eyes are set on the future, guided by the light of new innovations such as genomics.



Nutrition Technologies has introduced Vitalis™, a patent-pending, 100% natural bioactive spray derived from Black Soldier Fly (BSF) frass. This innovative product has been carefully fermented and enriched with additional chitin and a unique microbial inoculant, Bacillus halotolerans, sourced directly from BSF larvae. The result? An immensely effective plant protection product that enhances natural plant defenses against pathogens and bolsters drought tolerance.

Nutrition Technologies, a pioneer in insect-based solutions, has been at the forefront of this revolutionary approach since 2015. Their commitment to leveraging natural systems and upcycling nutrients aligns perfectly with the principles of Decomposition Ecology. With a dedicated team of over 20 scientists and a state-of-the-art microbiology laboratory, they have subjected their products to rigorous testing both internally and with third-party collaborators.

Vitalis™ is meticulously formulated to address multiple facets of plant health. It acts as a potent shield against fungal diseases, promotes the proliferation of beneficial microbes, and delivers essential micronutrients to plants. The key to its success lies in the microbial inoculant and insect chitin. The isolated bacteria, a marvel from the larvae’s digestive system, has been proven to suppress plant pathogens by an astounding 96%. Meanwhile, the chitin, sourced from mature larvae exoskeletons, encourages the growth of chitin-degrading bacteria in the liquid, which effectively combats pathogenic fungi.

This harmonious blend fortifies the plant’s natural defenses, creating robust and disease-resistant foliage and root zones. Unlike conventional methods reliant on fungicides and aggressive soil treatments, Vitalis™ nourishes the soil by enhancing microbial activity, increasing nutrient availability, and ultimately promoting healthier plants. According to Nutrition Technologies, a single bottle of Vitalis™ packs a punch with 12 billion beneficial bacteria, providing a quick and efficient method to enhance soil microbial profiles and safeguard plants from fungal infections.

Versatility and Sustainable Production

Vitalis™ offers a versatile application, suitable for use as both a foliar spray and root drench. It can be employed on its own or in combination with Diptia®, another bioactive fertilizer from Nutrition Technologies.

Nutrition Technologies have also developed a low-energy tropical production system, a remarkable fusion of micro-organisms and Black Soldier Flies, capable of converting 60,000 metric tons of organic by-products annually into value-added products for livestock and agriculture. The Black Soldier Fly larvae, thriving in the Malaysian climate, require minimal energy for growth and breeding. This unique approach ensures not only cost-effective production but also maintains the highest standards of quality and safety. The company’s products are shipped worldwide, from Asia to North & South America and Europe, demonstrating their commitment to global agriculture.

A Critical Innovation for Food Security

Nick Piggott, Co-CEO of Nutrition Technologies, emphasizes the critical role Vitalis™ plays in safeguarding the global food supply chain. By addressing two of the most economically threatening plant pathogens, Ganoderma in oil palms and Fusarium oxysporum in bananas, Vitalis™ helps secure the future of these staple crops.

As the world contends with the challenges of food security, Nutrition Technologies’ pioneering approach demonstrates a significant leap towards a more sustainable and resilient agricultural future. The insect sector, as a whole, is gaining substantial attention, with the global insect protein market expected to grow exponentially. With nearly $1 billion in investments, it’s clear that this sector is determined to drive change and sustainability in agriculture.



In recent years, the agriculture business has seen a paradigm shift toward more sustainable practices, fueled by growing consumer awareness and global problems such as climate change and food security. Biological solutions, which have gained importance due to their favorable impact on agribusiness, are one of the major pillars of sustainable agriculture. This article examines the expansion of the Brazilian biological market and the global acceptance of sustainable farming technologies, with a focus on precision agriculture, organic farming, and regenerative agriculture.

The Shift to Sustainable Farming Practices

As sustainable agricultural practices gain acceptance, the global agriculture business is undergoing a transformation. Consumers are demanding items developed utilizing biological solutions and sustainable ways as they become more cognizant of the environmental and social effect of their food choices. To meet market needs and keep their competitive edge, agribusinesses are adopting sustainable practices.

Precision agriculture, with its application of cutting-edge technologies such as drones, sensors, and data analytics to enhance crop output, is one of the top sustainable agricultural approaches. Precision agriculture decreases environmental impact while increasing efficiency by reducing the usage of fertilizers, pesticides, and water. This method not only addresses customer demand for sustainable products, but it also improves agricultural systems’ resilience and productivity.

Organic farming, which focuses on natural inputs and biological pest control, addresses the growing demand for organic products while also improving environmental sustainability and biodiversity.

Regenerative agriculture is a forward-thinking method that strives to restore and improve soil health, biodiversity, and ecosystem services. Cover cropping, crop rotation, and conservation tillage are all practices that improve soil fertility, minimize erosion, and trap carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This strategy benefits not only the environment but also the resilience and productivity of agricultural systems.

The convergence of technology and sustainable agriculture is becoming more common. Vertical farming, hydroponics, and aquaponics are examples of innovations that permit year-round crop production with little water and land requirements. These technologies enable urban farming and localized food production while decreasing the carbon impact of long-distance food transportation.

Overcoming Challenges and Embracing Opportunities

While applying sustainable practices may necessitate early investments and changes to traditional agricultural methods, it also provides opportunity for agribusinesses to differentiate themselves in the market and reach new consumer segments. Governments and organizations are encouraging the adoption of sustainable agriculture methods by offering incentives, certifications, and research money.

Global Adoption and Partnerships

Beyond the thriving biological sector, the global agriculture business is embracing biologicals’ transformative promise. Educating growers, forming alliances, and refining product formulations are all key elements in the shift to a biologics-based society.

As the agricultural business recognizes the importance of sustainable practices, biologicals have emerged as a critical component of positive transformation. The world’s brisk biological market expansion demonstrates the possibility for wider worldwide adoption. Agribusinesses can meet consumer needs, boost competitiveness, and contribute to a more sustainable future by implementing precision agriculture, organic farming, and regenerative agriculture. The move to sustainable agriculture gives enormous prospects for a healthy and resilient agricultural industry, with technology and partnerships supporting these efforts.


Syngenta Crop Protection’s Seedcare business has unveiled a groundbreaking solution for farmers seeking effective control over soil pests while also improving the sustainability of their farming practices. The new seed treatment, named EQUENTO®, harnesses Syngenta’s state-of-the-art PLINAZOLIN® technology to safeguard crops from the earliest stages of their growth.

What sets EQUENTO® apart is its novel mode of action, categorized as IRAC Group 30, which effectively combats the rise of insect resistance. By utilizing this innovative approach, EQUENTO® ensures precise control over a wide range of soil pests, including notoriously challenging ones like wireworms and red-legged earth mites. This seed treatment can be applied across multiple crops, such as cereals and canola, enhancing its versatility and applicability.

One of the standout advantages of EQUENTO® is its ability to promote sustainability within farming operations. With its low dose rates and limited solubility and mobility in soil, EQUENTO® offers highly effective pest control while remaining safe for both seeds and plants. By concentrating its action around the plant’s roots, it not only provides precise and efficient pest management but also fosters healthier root systems that contribute to improved soil health and biodiversity.

Furthermore, this groundbreaking seed treatment affords farmers greater flexibility in making informed decisions regarding their farming practices. It accommodates various application timings, dose rates, and even allows for mixtures with other insecticides and fungicides. EQUENTO® proves effective even under low soil temperatures, effectively controlling pests that either ingest or come into contact with the plant, ultimately reducing pest populations in the soil. Its exceptional target specificity empowers farmers to tailor the dose rates precisely to address specific pest challenges they may encounter.

Speaking to another newsroom, Jonathan Brown, the Global Head of Syngenta Seedcare, expressed the company’s dedication to innovation, stating, “EQUENTO®’s combination of a novel mode of action, broad spectrum pest control, as well as superior seed and crop safety reflects Syngenta’s commitment to innovation.” This groundbreaking solution transforms farmers’ ability to manage pests such as wireworms, enabling the establishment of healthy young crops critical for optimal yields, all while safeguarding soil health, biodiversity, and the environment.

Farmers face substantial challenges from insects and soil pests that not only threaten crop yields but also compromise harvest quality by providing gateways for diseases. Climate change exacerbates these challenges as it leads to shifts in insect pressure and spectrums faced by farmers. The continuous evolution of pests, coupled with the urgency to protect sustainable productivity, necessitates innovative solutions.

Approximately 600 insect species are already resistant to at least one insecticide, highlighting the need for effective and sustainable pest management approaches. In response to these challenges, Syngenta plans to launch EQUENTO® globally, starting with its introduction in Australia later this year under the trademark EQUENTO® Extreme. Further registrations are expected in markets worldwide, ensuring access to this revolutionary seed treatment for farmers worldwide.

By introducing EQUENTO®, Syngenta Crop Protection’s Seedcare business is spearheading the advancement of pest control technologies in agriculture while prioritizing sustainability and the future of farming. This breakthrough solution holds the potential to revolutionize the way farmers combat soil pests and enhance their farming practices, contributing to a more resilient and productive agricultural sector.


The agriculture industry is feeling the effects of climate change, which includes invasive pests, droughts, intense weather events, and reduced crop yields. This has led growers to seek alternate means of protecting crops and increasing output while keeping the bottom line healthy.

The aim of Climate Smart Farming is to help growers adapt to and manage the risks associated with the changing climate, while creating more resilient, healthier, productive acreage to help sustainably feed a growing world population.

One of the ways growers can make their crops resilient to climate shifts and increasingly significant abiotic stressors is through biostimulants. These products are made up of naturally occurring components and help plants endure stress from drought to temperature to soil conditions. Stressed plants require more inputs to reach a desirable yield, which in turn turns up the pressure on the environment through increased nitrogen use and greenhouse-gas-producing manufacturing and shipping methods.

You may also want to read about: Antibiotic Overuse in Farming Threatens Human Immune System

Many biological companies have been targeting specific ‘stress points’ in the agronomic cycle. Products that improve cold tolerance and increase the speed of root extension into the soil are valuable, as are those that target heat stress, wind stress, and drought stress. The industry is focusing on designing products around agronomic needs, with the goal of getting a plant through the existing climate event. However, almost all of these products are designed to mitigate a stress and will only have value when applied prior to the stress.

The Plant Growth Regulator (PGR) Impasse

The agricultural industry is also facing a PGR regulatory conundrum, with agencies responsible for regulating and enforcing laws related to environmental protection – such as the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in Kenya or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the US – considering anything that acts as a PGR as a pesticide. This occurs because most products containing PGRs were used as herbicides. As a result, any product that regulates plant growth and uses that terminology is at risk of being deemed a pesticide, even if it enhances growth rather than limits it, and even if it’s a naturally occurring substance.

One potential solution to this regulatory conundrum is to establish a separate regulatory framework for biostimulants, which would allow for a more streamlined and efficient approval process. This would require a significant amount of collaboration and advocacy from the agriculture industry, as well as increased funding for research and development to better understand the mechanisms and efficacy of biostimulants.

Capitalizing on Climate Smart Agriculture and Biostimulants

Climate smart farming and the use of biostimulants are promising avenues for growers to adapt to the challenges posed by climate change while improving their bottom line and sustainability. However, it will require a concerted effort from all stakeholders in the agriculture industry to fully realize their potential and overcome the regulatory and technical challenges that currently limit their effectiveness.



Agricultural companies Syngenta Crop Protection and Biotalys have joined forces to create innovative and sustainable biocontrol solutions for various crops. This new partnership aims to develop a new mode of action to tackle key pests that threaten agriculture and promote sustainable farming. Syngenta will collaborate with Biotalys to leverage their AGROBODY technology platform, a protein-based biocontrol solution, for Syngenta’s specific insect targets.

The agriculture industry is facing challenges such as resistance development, regulatory, and environmental pressures. Therefore, growers are searching for effective biological solutions to limit the negative impact on the environment and biodiversity. Biotalys has shown potential in its protein-based biocontrols to provide novel modes of actions for safe and efficient application in food and agriculture. This partnership allows Biotalys to develop and globally commercialize its innovative crop protection solutions by leveraging Syngenta’s extensive network and capabilities.

Syngenta, a global agricultural business, is committed to providing farmers with cutting-edge technologies that improve the sustainability of agriculture. Working with Biotalys as part of its agricultural innovation ecosystem is a significant step towards addressing critical farmer needs worldwide. The collaboration of both companies aims to create a pivotal role in the industry by offering growers safe, efficient, and sustainable agricultural solutions.

According to Patrice Sellès, Chief Executive Officer at Biotalys, collaborating with Syngenta is a major milestone in the company’s mission to provide growers with safe, efficient, and sustainable agricultural solutions.

The financial details and further terms of this partnership are undisclosed.


Syngenta Seeds, one of the world’s leading agricultural technology companies, and Ginkgo Bioworks, a platform for cell programming and biosecurity, announced a partnership to discover novel traits in plants through screening a targeted genetic library.

The research partnership aims to provide information for future seed trait development, so farmers can grow more resilient crops. Ginkgo’s protein engineering capabilities and proprietary ultra-high-throughput screening technologies will work with Syngenta’s efforts to design and develop innovative plant traits.

This collaboration demonstrates the value of seeking out collaborations across diverse industries and addressing challenges that farmers face worldwide. The partnership will leverage new ideas and technologies to solve pressing challenges facing agriculture. According to Agribusiness Global, Magalie Guilhabert, Vice President, Head of Ag Biologicals at Ginkgo Bioworks, expressed excitement to partner with Syngenta to bring the next generation of innovative products to farmers.


Malnutrition, particularly a lack in micronutrients, has been linked to anemia, weariness, and in some cases has been implicated in blindness, accounting for 17% of all fatalities in children under the age of five in underdeveloped nations.

While micronutrient deficiency is a type of malnutrition, it has been linked to poor mental development, increased oxidative stress, reduced growth in babies, and inadequate immunity to diseases.

Researchers from the University of Ibadan and IITACGIAR in Nigeria found that a lack of micronutrients in the diet causes “hidden hunger,” necessitating the consumption of foods fortified with sufficient amounts of bioavailable micronutrients.

Due to the substantial reliance on maize-based meals in developing nations and the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies, maize is an ideal source for biofortification due to its low cost of production and rising use in processed goods in these nations.

The grains of maize are a significant crop that can help ensure global food security and contain no anti-nutrients. They comprise roughly 72% starch, 10% protein, 4.8% fat, 8.5% dietary fiber, and 3.0% sugar. Unfortunately, the majority of maize genotypes have low levels of important elements including iron and zinc as well as vitamin A.

The orange and yellow colors of maize have been associated with higher nutritional value due to the presence of carotenoids, especially zeaxanthin and -carotene which impart the color, according to a study conducted to analyze the genetic components of micronutrients like zinc, iron, and provitamin A (PVA) content in tropical maize (Zea mays L.).

The genetic potential of the crop may be obscured because soil and climatic conditions have a significant impact on how micronutrients accumulate in plants. Nonetheless, substantial heritability estimates for zinc and iron accumulation in maize have been reported, showing the absence of environmental influences on physical expression of these traits and the potential for passing them on to the next generation of seeds.

The carotenoid biosynthesis pathway in maize results in the accumulation of provitamin A, which is then converted to vitamin A in the human body through the actions of certain enzymes after consumption.

At the IITA headquarters in Ibadan, 24 yellow to orange endosperm tropical maize inbred lines were crossed utilizing the North Carolina design II. These lines ranged in zinc and provitamin A content from low to high. Based on similarities in zinc and provitamin A concentrations identified in prior seasons, these inbred lines were grouped into six groups, each containing four inbred lines, to produce six sets of crosses.

The study’s findings indicated that while both additive and non-additive gene effects are significant in the inheritance of zinc content and grain yield, additive gene effects influenced provitamin A and iron content in maize to a greater extent.

Aiming to create synthetics, hybrids, and new inbred lines of maize with high levels of micronutrient enrichment and outstanding agronomic performance, high general combining ability inbred lines with effects on micronutrient content and grain production were also found.

During the study, hybrids with notable particular combining ability effects on PVA, iron, and zinc were also discovered.

A key goal of the SDG 2 is food and nutrition security, and IITA-CGIAR research is strategically focusing on a multifaceted strategy to meet this. This study suggests future investigation into the possibility of utilizing heterosis for provitamin A and mineral nutrients in maize, a significant crop that millions of smallholder farmers in rural Africa rely on for food, nutrition, and financial security.



CRISPR, or Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, is a revolutionary gene-editing tool that has the potential to transform the agriculture industry. This innovative technology allows scientists and researchers to precisely target and alter specific genes within an organism’s DNA, paving the way for the development of crops that are more resistant to pests and diseases, require less water and fertilizers, and have a longer shelf life.

CRISPR works by targeting specific sequences of DNA within an organism’s genome and making precise changes to those sequences. The process begins with the identification of the specific gene or genes that are to be edited. Once the target gene has been identified, a small piece of RNA, known as a guide RNA, is designed to bind to the target gene. The guide RNA is then combined with an enzyme called Cas9, which functions like molecular scissors, to cut the DNA at the specific location targeted by the guide RNA.

Once the DNA has been cut, the cell’s natural repair mechanisms are activated and the DNA is either repaired or replaced with a new sequence of DNA. The new sequence can be one that is naturally found in the organism, or it can be a synthetic sequence that has been designed to introduce a specific change or trait into the organism.

Revolutionizing Agriculture: The Power of CRISPR

In the case of agriculture, CRISPR can be used to modify the genes of crops in order to enhance specific traits, such as pest resistance, drought tolerance, or nutritional content. For example, scientists might use CRISPR to introduce a gene from a pest-resistant plant into a crop species that are prone to pest damage. This could result in a crop that is more resistant to pests and requires fewer pesticides to protect it. Similarly, CRISPR could be used to modify the genes of a crop to make it more drought-tolerant, or to enhance its nutritional content by increasing its levels of certain vitamins or minerals.

CRISPR has the potential to greatly enhance the resilience of crops, making them better able to withstand extreme weather conditions, pests, and diseases. By modifying the genes of crops, scientists can create varieties that are more resistant to drought, flooding, and high temperatures, which can significantly reduce crop losses and improve food security.

For example, CRISPR has been used to develop maize varieties that are more drought-tolerant. Maize is a major food crop that is grown around the world, and drought is a major factor that can reduce crop yields. By introducing genes from drought-tolerant plants into the corn seeds, scientists have been able to create maize varieties that are able to survive prolonged periods of drought. This could have a significant impact on food security in areas that are prone to drought and reduce the risk of crop failure.

In addition to improving drought tolerance, CRISPR can also be used to enhance the resilience of crops to other extreme weather conditions. For example, scientists have used CRISPR to develop rice varieties that are more resistant to flooding. Flooding is a major threat to rice crops, and it can cause significant losses for farmers. By creating rice varieties that are more resistant to flooding, CRISPR has the potential to improve food security and reduce the risk of crop failure in areas that are prone to flooding.

In addition to improving crop resilience, CRISPR can also be used to boost crop yields. Scientists have used CRISPR technology to develop crops that are more resistant to pests and diseases, which can greatly reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides. This not only reduces the environmental impact of agriculture, but it can also reduce the costs of production for farmers.

By modifying the genes of crops, scientists can create varieties that are more resistant to pests and diseases, which can greatly reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides. This not only reduces the environmental impact of agriculture, but it can also reduce production costs for farmers.

For example, CRISPR has been used to create potato varieties that are resistant to the potato blight fungus, which can devastate potato crops and cause significant losses for farmers. By eliminating the need for pesticides and herbicides, CRISPR has the potential to greatly improve the efficiency and profitability of potato production.

In addition to increasing pest and disease resistance, CRISPR can also be used to enhance other factors that influence crop yields. Scientists have used CRISPR to modify the genes of rice to improve its photosynthetic efficiency, which can increase crop yields. Other studies have shown that CRISPR can be used to increase the size and number of seeds produced by crops, which can also boost crop yields.

Another potential application of CRISPR in agriculture is the creation of crops with improved nutritional profiles. By altering the genes of certain crops, it is possible to enhance their levels of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are essential for human health. This could be especially beneficial for populations that are at risk of malnutrition, such as those living in developing countries.

Researchers have used CRISPR to modify the genes of rice to increase its levels of beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A deficiency is a major health problem in many developing countries, and it can cause serious problems, including blindness. By creating rice varieties that are rich in beta-carotene, CRISPR has the potential to improve the nutrition of millions of people around the world.

In addition to increasing the levels of specific nutrients, CRISPR can also be used to create crops with more balanced nutritional profiles. CRISPR technology has been used to modify the genes of wheat to increase its levels of zinc and iron, which are essential nutrients that are often lacking in the diets of people in developing countries. By creating crops that are rich in these nutrients, CRISPR has the potential to improve the nutrition of millions of people around the world.

From Drought-Tolerant Crop Varieties to Longer Shelf Life: The Many Possibilities of CRISPR in Agriculture

The benefits don’t stop at that point. There are many other potential benefits of CRISPR in the agricultural sector. Some of the other potential benefits of CRISPR in agriculture include:

  • Creating crops with a longer shelf life: By modifying the genes of certain crops, it is possible to increase their shelf life and reduce spoilage and waste. This could be especially beneficial for crops that are prone to rapid deterioration, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Reducing the environmental impact of agriculture: CRISPR can be used to create crops that require less water and fertilizers to grow, which can help to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture. It can also be used to create crops that are more resistant to pests and diseases, reducing the need for pesticides and herbicides.
  • Improving the efficiency of agriculture: CRISPR can be used to create crops that are more efficient at converting sunlight and other resources into biomass, which can increase crop yields and reduce the resources required to produce a given amount of food.
  • Enhancing the flavor and quality of crops: By modifying the genes of certain crops, it is possible to improve their flavor and other sensory qualities, which can make them more appealing to consumers.
  • Developing crops that can grow in challenging environments: CRISPR can be used to create crops that are able to thrive in environments that are traditionally inhospitable to agriculture, such as salty or arid soils. This could open up new areas for agriculture and help to improve food security in regions that are currently unable to support traditional crops.

Controversial Concerns of CRISPR in Agriculture

While the potential benefits of CRISPR in agriculture are significant, there are also concerns about the potential risks and unintended consequences of gene editing. These concerns center around the possibility that CRISPR could have negative impacts on the environment and human health, as well as ethical and social implications.

One of the major concerns about CRISPR in agriculture is the potential for negative impacts on the environment. There are concerns that gene-edited crops could have unintended consequences on non-target species, such as insects and birds. For example, if a gene that is toxic to pests is introduced into a crop, it could also be toxic to other species that feed on the crop, such as birds or butterflies. There are also concerns that gene-edited crops could have unintended impacts on soil health and other aspects of the environment.

Another concern about CRISPR in agriculture is the potential for negative impacts on human health. Some experts have raised concerns about the possibility that gene-edited crops could have unintended consequences on human health, such as the potential for allergenic reactions. There are also concerns about the long-term safety of consuming genetically modified foods, as the effects of consuming such foods over an extended period of time are not yet fully understood.

In addition to these concerns, there are also ethical and social implications of CRISPR in agriculture. Some experts have raised concerns about the potential for gene editing to be used to create crops with traits that are considered desirable by certain groups, while others are left behind. There are also concerns about the potential for gene editing to be used to create crops with traits that are considered “designer,” such as crops with specific flavors or colors, which could lead to further inequality and social divides.

Despite these concerns, the use of CRISPR in agriculture is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. As the technology becomes more refined and widely accepted, it is likely to play a key role in addressing some of the major challenges facing the agriculture industry, including food security, sustainability, and nutrition.

While the potential benefits of CRISPR in agriculture are significant, it is important to carefully consider the potential risks and unintended consequences of this technology. It is essential that the use of CRISPR in agriculture be carefully regulated and monitored to ensure that it is used in a responsible and ethical manner.

To begin with, the use of CRISPR in agriculture can be regulated and monitored to ensure that it is used in a responsible and ethical manner. Some of the ways in which this can be done include:

  • Establishing regulatory frameworks to govern the use of CRISPR in agriculture. These frameworks can include guidelines for the development and use of gene-edited crops, as well as procedures for evaluating the potential risks and benefits of such crops.
  • Seeking pre-market approval for gene-edited crops before they are allowed to be grown and sold. This can help to ensure that gene-edited crops are safe for human consumption and the environment.
  • Conducting independent testing of gene-edited crops to evaluate their safety and effectiveness. This can help to ensure that gene-edited crops are safe for human consumption and the environment.
  • Labeling gene-edited products so that consumers are informed about the presence of gene-edited ingredients in the products they purchase. This can be done through labeling requirements that clearly indicate the presence of gene-edited ingredients in products.
  • Ensuring transparency and openness to public scrutiny when developing and using gene-edited crops which can help to ensure that the risks and benefits of gene-edited crops are fully understood and considered.

The potential applications of CRISPR in agriculture are vast and varied and cannot be understated. This technology has the potential to revolutionize the way we grow our food and address some of the major challenges facing the agriculture industry. However, while the potential benefits of CRISPR in agriculture are significant, it is important to carefully consider the potential risks and unintended consequences of this technology for the benefit of the consumers and to allay public fears. One would argue that it is essential that the use of CRISPR in agriculture be carefully regulated and monitored to ensure that it is used in a responsible and ethical manner.



Video Credit: Morehead Planetarium & Science Center

The Competing Needs

In recent times, agricultural productivity has significantly declined due to a number of factors such as environmental degradation, negative effects of climate change and global warming, reduced size of arable land due to the growing population, competing demands for natural resources, soil degradation as a result of harmful human activities, among other factors. Soil is a critical mass that supports all life on earth and without it life on earth will not be feasible.

The Magic of Soil Microorganisms

Soil microbiome play a significant role in creating soil ecological balance and improving plant nutrition and the plants are part of a vibrant ecosystem that comprises numerous and different microbes that thrive in the soil. These microorganisms, including fungi and nitrogen-fixing symbiotic bacteria have been critical in contributing to crop health and yield by improving mineral nutrition to the crops. With the modern day advancements in research and innovations, it has now been discovered that these organisms also have other uses and can play a significant role in replacing synthetic agricultural inputs.

With utmost considering of the challenges that the agricultural sector is facing, advancing research into soil microbiomes could be one of the fundamental solutions that would create a significant impact in increasing agricultural productivity and sustainability in order to feed the growing world population that is expected to reach nearly 10 billion by 2050. Coupled with the global climate crisis, the increasing population has spurred the demand for biofuels which must be produces in adequate quantities without reducing food production.

As it is now, the amount of arable land has reduced due to the soaring population and demand for natural resources. To compound the challenges, the available arable soils have been polluted with harmful chemicals, exhausted with over-cultivation and degraded through erosion. Continued use of fertilizers have also not had shown a great change in improving soil health since a considerable amount of these fertilizer nutrients have been shown to be poorly absorbed by crops. Therefore, advancing research for better understanding of soil microbes remains as part of the core initiatives to effectively improve soil health and efficiently increasing agricultural production minimal disturbance and harm to the ecosystem.

Race Against Time

Time is critical and the race to achieving a sustainable farming is highly dependent on how soon the foundation for deeper soil research will be laid to determine how soil microbiome affect the absorption and uptake of plant nutrients.

The dirt under our feet is usually not given much attention and many still cannot fully understand its real potential, value, and its priceless foundation for all life on Earth. Fertile soils are a source of nutrients for crops and all plant life that are critical in providing feed for animals and food to the entire global population.

Technological innovations such as Biome Makers’ BeCrop technology are used globally to deliver insights into soil biology and sets the standard for soil health. Syngenta’s Research and Development program dubbed the LIVINGRO program will use BeCrop technology to make science-driven decisions that will sustain the production of food that is safe and healthy while conserving and improving biodiversity and soil quality in agricultural ecosystems.

The LIVINGRO program provides a platform that extensively assesses biodiversity and soil health parameters in farming ecosystems. The platform promotes scientific research in the most effective and renewing farming practices to help cultivators and growers improve farm biodiversity and protecting soils for future generations. The program works collaboratively with globally recognized biodiversity, ecology, soil science, and agronomy specialists.

In modern times, it is now possible to sequence the DNA of the soil microbiomes and produce huge amounts of data by using next generation sequencing (NGS) that provides the ability to understand complex datasets and provide the important insights. The Biome Makers’ BeCrop technology interprets the data and produces usable soil health metrics. This data provides informative details that enables farmers to produce more sustainably while fortifying soil functionality and improving soil health.

The joint efforts by the two organizations will further advance soil health management and sustainable farming practices which will ensure quality soil and increased food production for future generations.

Email us with any inquiries or questions.

Connect with us on our social networks: