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Ag Industry Brief: Tyson Partners with Accelerators, CRISPR 3.0 Gets a Patent, Unilever Moves Toward Transparency, more

February 23, 2018

Tyson Foods Partners With Incubators Plug and Play and 1871

Tyson Foods is partnering with two incubators: Plug and Play, based in Silicon Valley, and Chicago’s 1871. Whether Tyson is eyeing the next disruptor in animal protein or seeking to expand into other product areas remains to be seen. The announcement, though, follows Tyson Ventures’ purchase of a minority stake in Memphis Meats, a cultured meat company, and is also an invetor in plant-based protein company Beyond Meat. Read more.

Benson Hill Biosystems Patents New CRISPR 3.0 Technology

Benson Hill Biosystems received a patent this week for the latest development in its portfolio of gene editing and crop science tools. The new patent focuses specifically on the use of CRISPR 3.0 nuclease sequences as a genome-editing tool. Benson Hill’s editing system uses genome editing alongside the company’s existing CropOS design platform in plant science research and development, and the CRISPR 3.0 genome editing technology will be freely available to academic researchers and non-profits. Read more.

TechAccel Announces Protein Engineering Project with UC Davis

The Kansas City-based TechAccel LLC, a technology and venture development company, is partnering with the Siegel Lab at the University of California, Davis to research how specific mutations in a wheat enzyme could help the crop grow in warmer temperatures. The project follows recent reports that global warming has slowed yield gains in wheat crops–some estimates suggest that wheat production will fall by 6% for each degree increase in Celsius. Read more.

Applications Open for Yield Lab Europe Accelerator Program

In its 2018 cohort, the agtech accelerator Yield Lab will support as many as eight companies with a €100,000 investment, alongside mentoring and training. Now in its second year, Yield Lab Europe has modeled itself after similar programs in the US and Latin America that focus on businesses tackling questions related to environmental sustainability and food security. Applications are open through March 2, apply here. Read more.

Unilever to Fully Disclose Palm Oil Sources

Under pressure from consumers who want more transparency in the supply chain, Unilever announced plans to fully disclose the sources of the palm oil in its extensive line of products. The company plans to make public both the suppliers and mills, a move company executives hope will provoke an industry shift towards more transparency. Read more.

Biome Makers Ranks Wineries On Microbial Biodiversity

Through measuring and evaluating microbial communities on vineyards, the San Francisco-based startup Biome Makers has ranked 600 vineyards worldwide for the biological activity in their soils. The company uses biological activity as an indicator of sustainability and considers thriving microorganism communities a sign of productive agriculture. Its precision digital tool WineSeq analyses the microbial communities in soil, vines, and fermentation. Read more.

Farmwall Launches Two Vertical Farms in Melbourne

Farmwall, a vertical farming company focused on bringing indoor farms to restaurants and cafes, installed its first two farms in two Melbourne establishments. Its farms, about the size of a bookcase, use aquaponic technology and grow herbs and micro-greens. Every week, Farmwall replenishes the units with trays of sprouted seeds. Read more.

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