Biome Makers

tells us about the power of the soil beneath our feet

In order to optimise productivity in agriculture, while respecting the needs of nature, we need to look down, not up. Underground there is a whole world of life forms that are born, grow and perform indispensable functions. They work for us without us realising. This microbiological component of the soil is called the Microbiome, and it is a vessel of life that plants draw from to activate the functions necessary for their survival and nutrition. Soil is more fertile the more biologically active it is.

In line with the holistic concept of "One Health", the soil's microbiome represents the connection between the health of the earth, the wellbeing of animals, and that of mankind.

We went to interview a group of experts that has been working in the heart of Silicon Valley, California, since 2015, to address some of the most urgent problems of our time.
The company Biome Makers, founded by Adrian Ferrero and Alberto Acedo, is a pioneer and leader in the AgTech sector, and has established a new standard for soil health through their proprietary technology, BeCrop®.

Answering our questions was Diego Moreno, EU Head of Commercial.

What does Biome Makers do?

"Biome Makers has created a new standard for soil health thanks to our BeCrop® technology. We have reached over 15,000 farmers in over 50 countries, helping to improve over 500,000 hectares of biodiversity. Our database identifies over 14 million microorganisms, and is helping to restructure the landscape of global agriculture.

BeCrop® is an innovative solution that analyses the microbiome and decodes the soil's ecosystem, revealing the complex dance of "microbe communities". Our company unlocks the potential of agricultural optimisation, counteracting soil degradation and improving the general health of the land. We are able to equip farmers and consultants all over the world with data and dedicated tools, so they can make conscious, sustainable decisions. BeCrop® is a brilliant example of how technological innovation can bring a holistic approach to soil health to the agricultural sector."

How does BeCrop® technology work?

"BeCrop® is driving a revolution in the agricultural sector through Artificial Intelligence (AI), combining analysis of the soil's microbiome with environmental data. The genetic data reveals the complex interactions of microbe communities and allows us to study the soil in any place and for any type of cultivation. After this, it groups parameters such as the NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), the humidity of the soil, and the precipitation and temperature in various regions and time periods. Everything is collected into visual illustrations that offer farmers an understanding of the health and potential of their land, explaining its nutrition, adaptation to stress and resilience. With this roadmap, every farmer can increase the yield of their crops, improve the quality of agricultural produce and reduce production costs. This technology is a compass guided by AI that orients farmers towards a more sustainable, productive, profitable future."

Are there applications of this technology in Italy, too?

"We have left our mark in Italy too, on various crops. Our project in collaboration with the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and Corteva Agriscienze has highlighted the vital role of soil microorganisms in the sustainable, reliable production of corn. 

By combining genetic, environmental and soil microbiome parameters, our technology has created a predictive model for crop yields with 98% precision. This demonstrates the considerable value that BeCrop® brings to the table: our discoveries again show the importance of maintaining rich microbial biodiversity, promoting sustainable practices."

How can a small to medium-sized farm access this soil decoding service?

"Small and medium-sized farms can get precious access to our soil decoding service thanks to the BeCrop Test. This tool shows how different aspects of climate change and farming practices influence the microorganisms in the soil, evaluating the risk of plant diseases and facilitating more efficient integrated management programmes. The BeCrop® Test monitors microbial carbon fixation pathways in the short term and by knowing which soil-borne pathogens are present in a particular moment and which are not at a particular point, you can adjust pest management programs. It measures the differences in terroir between plots with a microbiome that functions as a biomarker, and determines whether nutritional deficiencies are caused by a lack of nutrients in the soil or by the low capacity of microbes to make them available to the plants."

What is on the horizon?

"Like any innovative company, we are evolving and will grow with the support of technology and feedback from our clients and the industry." 

New scenarios are opening up with the BeCrop® Rate metric system: a QR code that allows final consumers of agricultural produce to see where the food they eat comes from and understand the soil management practices used in its production. This way, farmers will be able to make their products stand out from the competition, not only through their perceived quality, but also thanks to their significant commitment to the environment. BeCrop® Rate is an ecosystem service designed for future generations, and it helps to guarantee a healthier future for all.

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N° 14

artificial

Staying human
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