DuPont’s biotech subsidiary DuPont Pioneer and Israeli crop research firm Evogene announced on 26 July that they had entered into a multi-year collaboration agreement to develop microbiome-based seed treatments for corn.

The goal of the cooperation deal was to develop bio-stimulant seed treatment products to protect and maximise corn yields and demonstrate a high standard for performance and consistency criteria across corn varieties and global locations, the companies said in a statement.

Ofer Haviv, Evogene president and CEO, said: “We believe microbiome-based biological will be an important and valuable tool for farmers in driving agricultural productivity.”

DuPont would provide Evogene access to its seed treatment application technology and product development expertise, while Evogene would apply its predictive computational biology platform to decipher plant/microbiome interactions.

Additionally, Evogene would provide its microbial formulation and fermentation technologies to the project.

The collaboration agreement had an extension option should certain milestones be met, in which case Pioneer would obtain global marketing rights to any products with royalties to be paid to Evogene.

Specific financials terms or additional details about the agreement were not disclosed.

Ag-biologicals represented a growing approach to driving agricultural productivity and were increasingly used to complement existing solutions of improved seed traits and crop protection chemisty, the companies said.

According to a Markets & Markets study, the bio-stimulant market was worth over US$1.6bn in 2016 with an annual growth rate of approximately 10%.