When the average consumer thinks of seed tech, his or her thoughts usually wander immediately to GMO crops. Thankfully, today’s innovators are coming up with more than just ways to genetically enhance crop plants to increase pesticide tolerances. Read on to find out about a few of the latest advancements in green seed tech that show promise for ecologically conscious gardeners and growers.
Improved Medical Cannabis
Evogene has recently branched out into the growing field of medical cannabis. Their recently developed subsidiary Canonic plans to focus on addressing current market roadblocks like genetic stability, yield, and metabolite composition using Evogene’s Computational Predictive Biology (CPB) platform. With the legal cannabis market poised to continue its current growth trajectory worldwide, medical growers are constantly looking for the next great thing. They can order seeds for the coming season if they need more from i49.
Non-GMO Seed Breeding
Equinom is a non-GMO seed breeding startup whose work focuses on tech-driven breeding methodologies for a greener future. This Israeli startup will be using the $10 million it raised recently to figure out how to harness natural genetic variation in plants instead of altering their genomes. They plan to revolutionize the way consumers think about plant-based protein by creating “smart seeds” that re more nutritious than ordinary market varieties. Consider that you can grow plants to boost certain elements of a plant personalized to you, like molecules that enhance aspects of the plant, like CBD for making your own melatonin gummies.
AI-Powered Container Farms
Indoor container farming and growing have been around for a while, but Seedo Corp. plans to revolutionize the industry by introducing one of the world’s first commercially viable, fully automated indoor growing machines. The machine is designed for use in commercial-scale, pesticide-free farms and grow ops, which the company’s CEO Zohar Levy believes will be the future of farming. The machine leverages the power of AI to provide optimal growing conditions in airtight, stackable containers to increase usable space and reduce environmental footprints.
Naturally Increased Outdoor Yields
Kaiima Agro-Biotech focuses on increasing yields in outdoor farms, gardens, and grows using a completely different methodology. Kaiima focuses on naturally doubling plant chromosomes to increase photosynthesis and improve plants’ adaptability to field conditions, increasing yields by as much as 10 to 50%. While other companies have attempted to induce artificial polyploidy or chromosome doubling, Kaiima is one of the first companies to successfully employ natural methods that don’t damage the plants’ DNA.
Combating Climate Change-Induced Yield Reductions
At this point, there is little doubt in most experts’ minds that climate change is the planet’s new reality. That doesn’t just mean increasing temperatures. It also creates perfect conditions for more frequent and more intense inclement weather events, ranging from flooding to periods of extreme drought.
Some ag-tech companies are already developing solutions for what most assume is now an inevitable problem. These solutions include advances in drip irrigation and fertilization, reclaiming of marginal water, and new methods for restoring degraded soil. Given that the world’s population is only continuing to rise, it’s a good thing so many established companies and startups are focusing on finding a way to feed everyone sustainably.
The Bottom Line
Gone are the days when seed tech companies focused exclusively on creating genetically altered crops and more powerful pesticides. Today, green seed tech is on the rise and plant breeders, tech experts, and innovators across the world are jumping on board with this trend. Only time will tell which of the innovative crop and seed technologies now in development will prove commercially viable, but there’s no denying that it’s an interesting time for farmers, gardeners, and growers.