Agriculture: A Need to Feed
As our food needs evolve and our climate changes, we partner with nature to develop solutions for a robust, affordable food supply.
With a world-class biological discovery platform and a mission for public good, Zymergen is developing products to address the most challenging fertilizer usage and crop protection problems facing today’s agriculture industry.
Defending the future of food
We’re working to improve a new kind of fertilizer that dramatically reduces energy usage and water pollution. We’re also developing crop protection against insects, fungi, weeds, and ever-evolving weather challenges—without harming the environment.
It’s part of our stance as a public benefit corporation whose mission is to displace the petrochemicals that pollute the planet by designing, developing, and commercializing bio-based materials that deliver better performance than existing products, at attractive costs. We aim to create agricultural products that don’t compromise between people and the planet, between profitability and sustainability.
Nitrogen Fixation: Nature’s Crop Fertilizer?
Nitrogen is the single most important nutrient for plants, essential for growing healthy, nutritious crops. Modern industrial agriculture depends on petrochemistry-based nitrogen fertilizer to feed our growing planet. But fertilizer production makes more CO2 than any other chemical reaction1, which contributes directly to climate change. Worse still, 50% or more2 of the nitrogen never even gets used by the crops, instead washing into waterways and leading to biological “dead zones.”
Over the last decade, scientists have begun harnessing the natural ability of some soil microbes to take nitrogen from the atmosphere and deliver it to plant roots. Known as nitrogen fixation, this process promises a huge leap forward for modern agriculture and a more sustainable, natural way to feed the world. Our strain engineering platform is finding the best soil microbes for the job.
1. Source: Environmental Protection Agency
Feeding an expanding population has come at a cost: the nutrients that feed our crops are growing scarcer. We need new solutions to make plants more robust, so that they can capture more nutrients and make better use of the nutrients available.
Pests are spreading to places they’ve never been before, driven by changing environmental conditions. Traditional crop protection is becoming less effective against threats from insects, weeds, and disease. We need new solutions to help food win the fight.
We develop novel proteins for better crop traits, such as increased resiliency against pests, disease, and extreme temperatures. Our powerful metagenomic library unlocks natural solutions with novel, highly specific modes of action against pests, not plants.
Crop Nutrient Uptake
We are engineering microbes and proteins to help plants to capture more nutrients, as well as make best use of the nutrients they are provided. We’ve produced 10,000 strains using data science, focused on addressing the billion-dollar microbial nitrogen fixation market opportunity.
Our platform has the potential to minimize food waste by uncovering methods to reduce spoilage and prolong food life, such as biodegradable packaging that decreases waste and keeps food fresh longer.
Some of our Collaborators*
*Names, logos, and trademarks used here may be claimed as the property of their respective owners.
Zymergen’s patented platform combines advances in genomics, machine learning, and automation to unlock the greatest manufacturer of all: nature. It enables us to pinpoint useful molecules in nature’s vast catalog, produce them with biology, and deliver them to market at the speed of the digital age.
Interested in the agricultural solutions of tomorrow?
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