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New nitrogen-fixing microbial products are in the works

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Nitrogen is critical in the production of crops, especially corn and wheat. However, many individuals are becoming exceedingly concerned about how nitrogen is applied and used in agriculture. More specifically, these individuals are worried about the potential for fertilizers to get into groundwater or run off into streams.

Because of this particular issue, Mosaic and BioConsortia teamed up to find alternative ways to get nitrogen to crops while addressing the issue of nitrogen loss.

Currently, the two firms are in the process of developing nitrogen-fixing microbial products for corn, wheat and other major non-legume row crops. 

Maximizing nitrogen use

According to BioConsortia CEO Marcus Meadows-Smith, the new products created by Mosaic and BioConsortia are designed to reduce the amount of conventional nitrogen fertilizer application, while boosting crop yields and growers’ revenue.

Meadows-Smith notes BioConsortia has been growing plants under nitrogen stress through successive generations to explore which biological products are at work in the soil biome. He explains the company has a proprietary process to help identify key microbes and their cooperative role in the soil.

 “Significantly reducing the use of conventional nitrogen fertilizer requires innovation not yet seen in currently available biological products. However, BioConsortia has already discovered spore-forming microbes capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen and colonizing corn, wheat and other non-leguminous plants,” he explains. 

“With targeted traditional and cutting-edge strain improvement and gene editing technologies, we will develop natural and improved strain microbial products to increase crop yields while maintaining or reducing nitrogen fertilizer inputs,” Meadows-Smith adds.

So far in the development of the product, Meadows-Smith says BioConsortia and Mosaic have seen success, and they are hopeful this new technology will reach the market in the next few years. 

A collaborative partnership

Meadows-Smith notes the partnership between BioConsortia and Mosaic came about when Mosaic became interested in BioConsortia’s work.

 “Mosaic was looking for a game changer to improve their top and bottom line,” he explains. “A small product wasn’t going to do it for them, and they wanted something with a meaningful impact. They wouldn’t have come to us if they didn’t believe we would come through with something to fit their business.”

Meadows-Smith says the collaboration between the two companies will utilize BioConsortia’s patented Advanced Microbial Selction (AMS) process and other proprietary tools including multi-trait screening, colonization technologies, genomics and gene editing, as well as BioConsortia’s existing collection of nitrogen-fixing bacteria. 

Additionally, Mosaic will have access to BioConsortia’s pipeline of phosphorus and potassium microbial products, which could be combined with the company’s existing range of potash and phosphate fertilizers to deliver a new generation of improved fertilizer products, reducing growers input costs and boosting crop yields. 

“The ultimate target is to deliver products with superior effectiveness, at lower costs, higher yields and an improved environmental profile,” says Meadows-Smith. “We are excited to partner with Mosaic, a proven leader in agriculture, and we believe their established expertise and market access in the field of fertilizers and crop nutrition is the perfect route to market for ground breaking nitrogen-fixing microbial products.”

“Our microbes will complement and expand Mosaic’s established crop nutrient business to the benefit of growers throughout the Americas,” he adds.

Hannah Bugas is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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