Aussie biological farming start-up boosts reach

Australian biological farming start-up business boosts its international reach with partnership with multi-national cropping business


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Biological farming start-up thinkbio believes it is on a winner with its trifixN inoculant which has attracted international interest.

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Watchem, Victoria farmer Simon Peters and managing director of Spanish agribusinessJesús Juárez inspecting canola at Watchem last month.

Watchem, Victoria farmer Simon Peters and managing director of Spanish agribusinessJesús Juárez inspecting canola at Watchem last month.

START UP Australian biological farming business thinkbio has received a powerful boost in its bid to grow its market with a partnership with an international firm.

Thinkbio managing director Lisa Anderson said the company was working with Spanish-based biological cropping business Symborg, which has its headquarters in the rich horticultural region of Murcia.

Symborg has taken an equity position in thinkbio, but Ms Anderson said equally important would be the opportunities presented by being able to move thinkbio’s products through the established Symborg distribution network.

“It’s fantastic to get an opportunity to tap into the Symborg network,” Ms Anderson said.

Thinkbio specialises in a range of microbial inoculants, with its flagship product the inoculant trifixN, which works to fix soil-bound nitrogen (N) and can be used in all agricultural and horticultural crops.

From the broadacre perspective, Ms Anderson said trial work had been conducted on wheat and canola.

The trifixN product, made up of a range of bacteria, works both by fixing atmospheric nitrogen and by creating better plant uptake of N in the soil profile already, whether soil N or applied nitrogen fertiliser.

The inoculant is applied as a foliar spray.

It works by delivering a steady supply of nitrogen to the crop throughout a combination of nitrogen fixation and improved solubilisation of mineral nitrogen, minimising the ‘sugar hit’ of a sudden spike in N through a fertiliser application.

Ms Anderson added improved fertilizer efficiency was achieved by the stimulation of nitrate reductase activity in the plant by the trifixN microbes, increasing the conversation of nitrate to nitrite

And in a bid to demonstrate to potential users exactly how the product works, she said growers using the product were able to send leaf samples to thinkbio to confirm the presence of trifixN bacteria inside the plant and their activity through elevated levels of nitrate reductase. 

Ms Anderson said the company had been rigorous about trial work so as to be able to demonstrate the value of the product.

“We’re seeing some really good results, and we’re hoping to win over conventional farmers to use a biological product in their nutrition package,” she said.

She said Symborg had good experience promoting biological cropping products which she hoped would aid thinkbio.

 “Symborg has extensive experience in working with growers to educate and introduce biological products into conventional nutrition programs,” she said.

“This is a critical aspect for us as we look to promote the adoption of trifixN by growers worldwide.

Symborg has subsidiaries in six countries, Mexico, Brazil, USA, Turkey, China, Spain, and a commercial presence in over 30 countries via its distribution network.

On the research front, Symborg and thinkbio will share expertise and collaborate on microbial research and development projects.

Jesús Juárez, Symborg chief executive, who visited Australia last month to meet with the thinkbio team, said the collaboration was similar to other successful investments the company has made in the past.

“Alliances such as this ensure success and accelerate the access of new technologies to agriculture,” he said.

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