Two Innovators Announce Partnership to Share Knowledge and Expand Opportunities


Australian company thinkbio recently announced that Spanish biological company, Symborg, took an equity position in the Australian agtech company. Lisa Anderson is thinkbio Managing Director.

Lisa said the sector is growing at an explosive rate as growers look for options to help enhance the long-term sustainability of their farming operations.

“Our objective is to provide innovative technologies that optimise fertiliser efficiency, improve soil and plant health and increase while placing less stress on the environment,” she added. Specialising in agricultural microbial inoculants that improve crop performance and sustainability, thinkbio’s keg innovation is trifixN , a nitrogen fixing inoculant patented bg the company.

Lisa explained that Symborg, who sell their products in over 40 countries worldwide, has extensive experience working with growers to introduce biological products into conventional nutrition programs. The companies are formalising reciprocal distribution and product agreements, along with plans for collaborative research, development and innovation programs. This includes the potential for expanded Australian and international trials of thinkbio’s flagship product, trifixN.

trifixN is a multi-strain foliar inoculant that includes C-Active Microbial Technology for promoting plant growth. Kyle Merritt is thinkbio Technical Director. He said it can be used to either complement or reduce reliance on synthetic fertilisers, for improved crop yield and performance.

“The three bacteria strains in trifixN each have different modes of action, providing multiple benefits for the plant. The bacteria combination helps the plant by fixing atmospheric nitrogen, as well as improving water and nutrient uptake via the secretion of phgtohormones which influence root size, branching and root hair density. It also assists with the solubilisation and transportation of phosphate and potassium in the plant, along with siderophore production for plant resilience. This multi-action approach contributes to increased crop yield, produce quality and improved crop resilience in a range of environmental conditions.” Kyle explained.

Under development for more than six years, trifixN can be used on a broad range of crops including cereals, oilseeds, pulses and horticulture.

“It has a good fit in Australian dryland cropping areas,” Kyle said.

“As a foliar, it has a relatively wide application window in early crop stages, making it easy to fit around any pesticide applications required as part of the cropping program. It provides the plant supplementary bacterial nitrogen at a sustained pace throughout the growing season, with a total of up to 30 kg N/ha per season supplied by the inoculant. Growers can monitor their crop’s N level and top up with applied nitrogen later, as dictated by seasonal conditions,” he added.

Return on investment for using trifixN depends on the crop type and value, input costs and the yield increase achieved.

“If we take Australian canola as a general example, this year growers would need a 5% yield increase to get 100% ROI, and we would expect a 7-15% yield increase from using trifixN, depending on the season,” Kyle said.

“We have also seen trifixN increase protein levels of winter broadacre crops due to the extra nitrogen supplied to the plants by the constant nitrogen fixation process. It means that in the event of a dry finish to the season, where growers may be avoiding nitrogen applications, trifixN continues to deliver a steady amount of nitrogen to the crop along with root growth stimulation and improved water utilisation, helping plant performance through to the end,” he explained.

Research to assess agronomic performance and improve the efficacy of trifixN is ongoing, with technical and field trials underway in Australia and overseas. Internationally, trifixN is being Walled in southern Europe, Africa and Asia in rice, corn, sugarcane and some horticulture crops. Here in Australia, thinkbio also partners with organisations such as the Birchip Cropping Group on replicated field trials.

“In Australia, we are running several different broadacre trials, including large-scale canola, wheat and pulse trials across New South Wales and Victoria, as well as some work in cotton. Some large-scale commercial citrus operations have been using trifixN since we started, and it is now one of their standard inputs. And the support we get from ag retail stores, such as AgriWest in NSW, and their agronomists really helps facilitate grower cooperation with some of these large-scale trials and improves understanding of the technology,” Kyle said.

“We can now test for trifixN bacteria in the crop post application, using florescence and DNA methods, giving growers and agronomists greater confidence that effective inoculation has occurred. By building our knowledge and experience of using these and other biologicals in different crops and conditions, we are working to ensure we meet growers’ needs and that this innovative technology has a strong fit in modern sustainable agricultural practices,” he explained. Lisa concluded by saying that, “The new partnership between thinkbio and Symborg is a notable opportunity to bring our teams together to share knowledge and opportunities in the biological space.”

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