Leveraging crop-colonizing microbes and synthetic biology to deliver sustainable agriculture solutions.
Microbes and plants have evolved together in a dynamic ecosystem that contributes to plant growth and health. At Joyn Bio, we learn about the individual microbes in these ecosystems, how they interact with each other, and their unique contributions to the health and resilience of crops. Our platform for microbe engineering aims to improve the performance and reliability of biologicals. We believe this new class of biologicals will become an integral part of agriculture's sustainable future.
Our first challenge: Nitrogen Fixation
Nitrogen is a vital element for growing healthy, high-yielding plants. While it makes up 70% of the air we breathe, nitrogen is unusable by plants in its native form. As a result, synthetic nitrogen fertilizers were developed to drastically increase agriculture productivity. This has come at cost to our environment -- industrially produced nitrogen fertilizers pollute waterways and are responsible for 3% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.
Plants like soybeans, peanuts, and other legumes take advantage of the microbes in the soil that convert nitrogen from the air into a form they can absorb through their roots in a process called nitrogen fixation. These microbes are the unsung heroes of the natural growing process.
Cereal crops like corn, wheat, and rice don't have the same symbiotic relationship with these nitrogen-fixing microbes. Our first product will be an engineered microbe that enables cereal crops to convert nitrogen from the air into a usable form. to do so, we identify crop-colonizing microbes and leverage synthetic biology to engineer the microbes to express naturally-occurring traits, such as nitrogen fixation, pest control, and disease resistance. This new class of ag biologicals will allow growers to significantly reduce the amount of industrial fertilizer they use without sacrificing on profitability or performance.
Our approach: A platform for microbial engineering
Joyn's microbe engineering platform starts with a library of highly-characterized microbes and engineers them with naturally occurring traits to develop solutions that deliver a specific benefit to the plant, such as crop protection or nutrition. Each new project will benefit from the data before it, so the platform is constantly gaining speed, accuracy, and increasing the probability of success.
With our exclusive ag industry access to Ginkgo Bioworks' advanced synthetic biology platform, as well as Bayer's microbial application expertise and library of more than 100,000 strains, we can identify, design, engineer, and test these microbes at unprecedented scale. This means we can more quickly and precisely find the microbial strains that will transform agriculture over the coming years.