Pluton Biosciences has signed a research agreement with global life sciences company Bayer AG to investigate the development of an all-natural, microbial-based carbon-capture soil amendment for growers.
Collaborating with Bayer’s Climate Change Group, Pluton will use its Micromining Innovation Engine to identify and develop microbes currently found in soil that can store carbon and nitrogen. Pluton’s proof-of-concept research predicts that such a consortia of microbes, applied in a spray at planting and harvest, can scrub nearly two tons of carbon from the air per acre of farmland per year, while replenishing nutrients in the soil.
“We are very excited that Bayer has elected to partner with Pluton in advancing Bayer’s global initiative to reverse climate change,” said Pluton CEO Charlie Walch. “Pluton/Bayer’s carbon capture amendment will allow growers to improve soil health in the field by sequestering carbon from the air. Our amendment will give growers an easy, cost-effective way to tap into the carbon credit market as it matures. The carbon credit market is in its infancy but is growing rapidly – projected to become a $14 billion market by the end of this decade.”
Land management is the second largest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions in the world. Researchers estimate that farming through the ages has unearthed roughly 133 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere. Through photosynthesis, plants convert carbon dioxide from the air to produce energy. Plants deposit carbon in the soil through their roots, while releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere. When growers disturb the soil during planting and harvest, the carbon dioxide is released back into the atmosphere.
Long-term carbon storage in the soil can reduce atmospheric carbon and enhance food production systems to benefit the world. Carbon sequestration also benefits the grower by reducing nitrogen inputs, improving soil health and diversity, suppressing natural disease and providing potential carbon market income.
“Bayer is committed to helping reduce field greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 30% by 2030,” said Dr. Geoff Kneen, Bayer US – Crop Science, Research and Development, Innovation Sourcing. “By working collaboratively with partners like Pluton and the world’s farmers, our industry is uniquely positioned to sequester carbon on farms as well as provide global environmental benefits and grower incentives.”