Industry: Gene modification of rhizobacteria
Nitrogen Genetics is a biotech startup pursuing genetic technologies to increase production of nitrogen in plants. Plants that help enhance the nitrogen content in soil are useful “biofertilizers;” they improve soil quality for agricultural production, so the next crop planted in the same area will grow faster and healthier.
The company has created a method for gene modification of rhizobacteria, root-colonizing bacteria that aid plants through a symbiotic relationship. Rhizobacteria help plants produce nitrogen in the soil, and Nitrogen Genetics’ genetic modification technique, termed RhizoExpress, accelerates that production.
The company’s initial goal is to enhance nitrogen production in Bradyrhizobium japonicum, a nitrogen-fixing bacteria that symbiotically attaches to legume roots, and the soybean plant “Glycine max.”
The global biofertilizer industry is expected to reach revenues of up to $10.2 billion by 2017 and $13 billion by 2020.