Cereal Foods World, Vol. 63, No. 6
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Harnessing Microbial and Agricultural Systems to Transform the Wheat Supply Chain
Kevin D. Kephart,1 Akhil Srivastava,2 Megan Willis,3 Slavica Djonovic,4 and Angelyca A. Jackson5
Wheat (Triticum aestivum L. and related Triticum spp.) is among the four most important agricultural crops grown worldwide and, along with rice, has particular importance because it is directly consumed by humans instead of being used primarily as feed for livestock. To meet demands from a growing global population, wheat production and wheat-based food industries are in critical need of technologies and management strategies to enhance production in a sustainable manner while also delivering more nutritious food. This article presents an overview of what one company is doing to advance the wheat industry. Indigo Ag, Inc. is using advanced analytical tools and technologies developed in the biomedical community to cultivate plant microbiomes in several crops, including wheat. The company is focused on symbiotic endophytes that improve crop production, especially under severe abiotic and biotic stresses. Indigo has also developed a management system that shares risks and rewards with growers. Added value is created by optimization of crop production and quality through 1) endophyte treatment technologies; 2) continuous agronomic insights provided by certified agronomists; 3) development of on-farm storage capacity; 4) extensive crop quality analysis; and 5) market analysis. Ultimately, this system-wide approach is providing what consumers are demanding—affordable and nutritious food that is produced through sustainable practices.
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