The project will be led by AgBiome entomologists, Drs. Brooke Bissinger and Chad Keyser, and will occur in partnership with the laboratory of Dr. Jeff Davis at the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center.
“We are extremely excited to use AgBiome’s technology to benefit smallholder farmers in Africa,” says Bissinger. “Sweetpotato’s importance in sub-Saharan Africa was highlighted this year with the World Food Prize going to four researchers who developed and promoted Vitamin-A fortified sweetpotatoes. It is an honor to be able to contribute to the protection and sustainability of this valuable crop.”
AgBiome has already established a diverse collection of plant-associated microbes and has fully sequenced and annotated the genomes for greater than 26,000 microbial strains. The grant will support the isolation, sequencing, and testing of microbes associated with U.S. and African sweetpotato plants in an effort to discover microbes that are capable of controlling the weevil.
“This is such an incredible opportunity for us at AgBiome,” says Keyser. “The scope of this project is so much more than pest control or increasing yields. We’ve been given the opportunity to make a real impact on the health and livelihood of millions of people.”
AgBiome discovers and develops innovative biological and trait products for crop protection. Their proprietary Genesis™ discovery platform comprises the world’s largest, most diverse, fully-sequenced collection of microbes, coupled to industry-best screens for insect, disease and nematode control. Better microbes. Better crops. Better world.
Link to press release here.