The 6 keys of the biotechnology revolution in agriculture

A revolution is a rapid and profound change. Far from being a fad, revolutions redefine the rules of the game, redesign obsolete models and rethink solutions to new challenges. Revolutions are here to stay.

This is what happened with the so-called “green revolution”, which took place between the 1960s and 1980s. It led to an increase in agricultural productivity thanks to the adoption of new practices and technologies.

At present, we can undoubtedly say that we are in the midst of a biotechnological revolution, i.e. the answer to the great challenges of food production in the 21st century: from the demographic challenge to the climate challenge, including plant health and soil conservation.

How do we see this biotechnology revolution at Symborg? Here are the 6 key points.

1. THE DEMOGRAPHIC CHALLENGE. FEEDING MORE PEOPLE WHILE CONSUMING FEWER RESOURCES

By 2050, there will be 9.6 billion people on the planet. This means: we need to increase food production by 70%, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). This in itself is a major challenge, but there is more. Both European and international policies are moving towards a reduction or limitation of synthetic fertilizers, and other substances that are commonly used to stimulate and protect crops.

 

Solutions? Biological products are playing a key role, as they sustainably provide a number of benefits to the plant, directly or indirectly impacting its yield.

One biotechnological solution that Symborg provides is the mycorrhiza-forming fungus Glomus iranicum var. tenuihypharum. This fungus, discovered and patented by us, stimulates the growth and productivity of most plants in a 100% environmentally sustainable way. Present in products such as MycoUp, it has been shown to increase crop yields by 10 to 20%. Some crop trials show 20% increase in crops such as melon and corn, 15% in peppers and lettuce, and 12% in tomatoes.

2. PLANT NUTRITION. BETTER RESULTS WITH BETTER NOURISHED PLANTS IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY

Soil microorganisms, through their metabolic activity, secrete a series of substances that serve as a source of energy for plants. In addition, they degrade complex molecules to form humus that promotes aeration, water storage and fertility.

 

Microorganisms also solubilize soil minerals (K, Ca, Mn, Mg, etc.) so that they can be assimilated by plants. On the other hand, there are groups of organisms that fix atmospheric nitrogen and others that favor root growth. In short: nature at the service of nature, allowing plants to be better nourished. And what does a better nourished plant mean? It means that production will improve in terms of quantity and quality.

At Symborg, we have extensive experience in plant stimulation research, which results in our biostimulants, such as Balius, MycoUp, MycoUp 360, Resid HC, Resid MG and TrichoSym Bio, and our biofertilizers, such as BlueN and VitaSoil.

3. CLIMATE CHANGE. AGRICULTURE PREPARED FOR EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS

Why are we suffering more and more from heat waves, forest fires and droughts? One of the most important effects of climate change is extreme weather conditions and increased precipitation. Heavy rainfall and other extreme weather events are becoming more frequent.

 

The damage caused entails very high costs, especially in sectors that are highly dependent on certain temperatures and precipitation levels, such as agriculture. According to the FAO, between 2,000 and 5,000 liters of water are needed to produce the food consumed by one person in a day, and we must bear in mind that only 2.5 % of the earth’s water is fresh.

Biological products have an important role to play in this situation on the planet, as they make plants respond better to abiotic stress, i.e. situations caused by extreme temperatures (heat or cold) and lack of water, such as drought.

Symborg does its bit with Balius, the biostimulant that unleashes the potential of crops in a sustainable way. Among its benefits are improved crop yields and crop quality; resistance to abiotic stress conditions; and, finally, speed in crop recovery when subjected to intensive agriculture or under stress conditions. Balius also provides speed of entry into production.

4.- ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGE. COMBINING SUSTAINABILITY AND CROP PROFITABILITY

Biological products can help maintain productivity while reducing environmental impact levels. Among other substances, they help to reduce nitrate and phosphate pollution, for example.

 

The key is to find solutions that reduce dependence on these substances without harming plant growth. At Symborg, we have patented Methylobacterium symbioticum, an atmospheric nitrogen-fixing bacterium – the basis of our biofertilizer BlueN.

BlueN is Symborg’s innovative biofertilizer that fixes nitrogen from the air biologically, continuously and effectively. BlueN is easy to apply – only once during the crop cycle, and it is compatible with most foliar applied crop protection products. The result: more productive, profitable and sustainable crops.

Furthermore, thanks to this technology, the dependence on the soil as a source of nitrogen is limited, protecting it from physical and biological degradation, as well as contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and reducing the risk of nitrate contamination of aquifers.

5.- BIOLOGICAL PEST CONTROL. A MAJOR IMPACT IN THE NEAR FUTURE

Biological control is the use of organisms that are natural enemies of pathogens in order to reduce or eliminate their harmful effects on plants or their products.

 

According to the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, between 25% and 50% of crops worldwide are lost to weeds (34%), pests (16%) and pathogens (14%).

The application of biologicals with the aim of reducing the harmful effects is becoming increasingly important. We are sure that it will have a great impact on agriculture in the near future.

6.- SOIL CONSERVATION. A LIVING SOIL IS A SOIL THAT FEEDS

The application of practices that guarantee soil protection is fundamental, since one third of soils are degraded due to erosion, salinization and depletion of organic matter and nutrients, among other reasons.

 

Let us not forget that a healthy soil is inhabited by millions of organisms that interact with each other in different ways and perform functions that make it possible to maintain the balance of the ecosystem and the availability of nutrients in the soil, which is essential for food production.

Biological products based on microorganisms play a very important role in soil aggregation, since many of them generate proteins, thus improving soil properties.

At Symborg we research and develop specific products such as VitaSoil and Qlimax, that help keep the soil alive, preventing its degradation and erosion.

In conclusion: we believe that innovation is the best ally of agriculture in the 21st century. Biotechnology and biological solutions open up a whole new world of possibilities in agriculture, where combining sustainability with profitability is key.

 

At Symborg, we want to help growers solve these challenges. At Symborg #WeAreBioBelievers. What about you?