Terra Biologics uses a patent pending technology to increase agricultural productivity utilizing naturally occurring photosynthetic microorganisms called cyanobacteria. These cyanobacteria convert solar energy and nutrients to fix atmospheric nitrogen, which becomes bioavailable for plants.
Enhancing Plant Productivity
Terra Biologics was founded in April 2012 to isolate, amplify, store and apply cyanobacteria. Target markets included disturbed arid soil and agricultural crops, such as rice and corn. Exciting results in rice were obtained in a greenhouse, where tests on rice treated with cyanobacteria showed an increase of 6-18% in biomass accumulation. Further field tests showed yield increases from 9-22%. Given the large global opportunity and positive testing results, Terra Biologics' primary commercialization activities are focused on the rice markets. A secondary market opportunity exists, focused on restoring disturbed arid soils. Cheatgrass invasion on disturbed soil was reduced to 0.3% in treated plots, compared to 6.8% in control plots
Rice is the most widely consumed staple food, providing more than 20% of the total calories eaten by mankind. In 2010, nearly 400 million acres, in over 100 countries, was devoted to rice production. Rice cultivation is well-suited to regions with low labor costs and high rainfall, as it is labor-intensive to cultivate and requires ample water. Unfortunately, due to lack of fertilizer and modern agricultural practices in countries such as India, China and Indonesia, rice yields are lowest where rice consumption is highest.
Rice yields can be increased by adding nitrogen, which is often too expensive or unavailable for farmers in Southeast Asia. Traditional sources such as manure and compost don’t supply optimal levels or forms of nitrogen, therefore yields suffer. The addition of a Terra Biologics cyanobacterial cocktail has demonstrated the ability to increase nitrogen availability resulting in higher yields for rice growers.
Over 10 million acres of soil are consumed by wildfire annually. After a fire, the first plants to grow back are invasive species such as cheatgrass. Cheatgrass has no nutritional value and is combustible, which perpetuates a wildfire cycle. Application of cyanobacteria to native seeds maintains their growth while reducing the spread of invasive species. Test details and results can be shared with interested parties.
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