Adaptive Symbiotic Technologies (AST) is a company I would make an investment in for both financial return and environmental impact reasons. AST is a biotechnology startup tackling one of the biggest global problems magnified by climate change and population growth – growing food in drought prone, salty soils, and temperature stressed conditions. They are successfully doing this by harnessing the naturally occurring symbiotic interactions between plants and microorganisms. Their team of scientists has discovered that certain types of microorganisms (fungi known as endophytes) can relay benefits to the host plants they live in, helping plants grow and even thrive in extreme conditions that would not be possible without the presence of the microorganisms. They have isolated these organisms and formulated them for use with food crops.
Their bioensureTM product line, is a specially formulated microorganism treatment that is sprayed onto seeds, seedlings, or even mature plants. It makes it possible to grow crops in sub-optimal conditions (drought, salinity, and temperatures stresses), expand production in marginal lands, and increase yields. The product helps plants make more efficient use of water reducing irrigation requirements and costs. And it helps plants grow with more vigor in colder temperatures extending the shoulder seasons and increasing production.
AST has demonstrated the follow benefits for corn and rice treated with formulated bioensureTM:
- 25-85% yield increases under heavy drought stress
- Increased seed germination under low temperatures
- 25-50% decreased water use under normal conditions
- Increased plant lifespan and increased root biomass
- 30+ lb/ acre yield increase under suboptimal planting conditions
- 25-40% dreased water use under normal conditions
- Higher yields in salty soils
- Improved seedling development under cold temperature conditions
I like them as an investment for the following reasons:
- Opportunity for both financial return and environmental impact.
- It is a non-GMO technology.
- They are leveraging biomimicry, a method that develops solutions to human problems by imitating nature’s natural models).
- The market potential is huge. It offers a GMO free strategy to increase production of current farm land and extend the farmable land by letting farmers grow in salty soils and drought conditions that were not feasible before. This has a massive potential to help meet the food needs of the world and deal with the challenge of climate change.
- It is a scalable business model that fits in the conventional seed and fertilizer supply chain.
- The product treatment application is easy to do by commercial seed processers or farmers.
- The management team is well positioned and experienced to make this a social, environmental, and profitable venture.