Biopesticides and Biocontrols

Pivot Bio joins AIM for Climate as Innovation Sprint Partner

12 November 2022, Berkeley: Pivot Bio, agriculture’s leading nitrogen innovator, joins the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) as an Innovation Sprint Partner, committing at least $291 million in product development funding over four years to accelerate the adoption of climate-resilient microbial nitrogen fertilizers. 

Pivot Bio introduced the world’s first nitrogen-producing microbes to U.S. farmers in 2018. Since that time the company has introduced multiple microbial nitrogen products for wheat, sorghum and other small grains in addition to its flagship product for corn. Farmers have quickly converted their nitrogen management programs to include Pivot Bio’s microbes while reducing their dependence on synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.  

“Microbial nitrogen fertilizer has the potential to permanently and immediately deliver reductions in GHG emissions, while delivering co-benefits to watershed health, biodiversity, and farmer margins,” said Karsten Temme, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Pivot Bio, “This could be one of the most important technologies for accelerating progress against the world’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.” 

Adhering to the root of the plants, Pivot Bio’s microbes convert atmospheric nitrogen to a usable source of the critical nutrient throughout a crop’s growing season. These microbes stay with the plant, eliminating the waste associated with fossil fuel-dependent synthetic fertilizers, which are applied on top of the ground. Unlike synthetic fertilizers, Pivot Bio’s microbial fertilizer does not leach into waterways nor volatilize into the air, improving air and water quality. 

“Farmers are the foundation of the world’s food system and humanity’s greatest stewards of our land” said Temme. “Pivot Bio is committed to partnering with them to provide better nitrogen while helping to heal the planet.”  

Over the next four years, Pivot Bio will continuously improve the nitrogen replacement capacity of the Company’s microbes and expand into new geographic markets with the goal of helping more of the world’s farmers nourish their crops with the most climate-friendly and easy-to-use nitrogen on the market. 

“As an AIM for Climate Innovation Sprint Partner, we will bring together the best minds and ideas to accelerate our pace of product development and increase farmer access to a dependable and sustainable nitrogen,” said Temme. “We are working toward a world where microbial nitrogen is the main source of crop nutrition.”

COP27, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, has been called the “food COP,” devoting an entire day, November 12, to agriculture for the first time. Conservative estimates place the total emissions associated with synthetic nitrogen fertilizer at approximately 9 units of CO2eq for every unit of synthetic nitrogen fertilizer produced. Approximately one-third of those emissions are caused by the Haber-Bosch manufacturing process, with direct and indirect emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O) accounting for the rest. Replacing synthetic nitrogen fertilizer with nitrogen-producing microbes avoids these emissions and has the potential to reduce water use (4,000 gallons per ton of synthetic N fertilizer) and improve human health outcomes by reducing ozone depletion and particulate generation. 

“Pivot Bio is pursuing a huge goal, and it can be daunting at times,” said Temme. “We hope our success in looking to biology to reimagine the future of agriculture can serve as an inspiration for others exploring biological solutions to our most intractable climate challenges.” 

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