Since the Green Revolution, which started in the 1960s, the levels of crops grown and harvested per unit area of land have massively increased at a great cost to the global environment. Over the past 40 years the Earth has lost one third of arable land and yet it takes over 12 times longer, 500 years, to create just one inch of topsoil. This is just one of the factors that drives our passion to discover game-changing solutions to agricultural challenges.
In 2015, myself and Kerry O’Donnelly Weaver began developing FungiAlert whilst completing our PhD studies at Imperial College London. Our mission was to develop tools to support sustainable agriculture and, revolutionise disease management practices through the early detection of soil pathogens. Since 2018, our SporSenZ technology has been commercialised as a soil microbial analysis tool for growers. Our proprietary technology is a powerful tool for the discovery and collection of new superior soil microbial bioproducts active ingredients. The SporSenZ captures active and dominant microbes from agricultural soils including crop pathogens and beneficial microbes and allows us to harness the soil’s microbial response to biotic and abiotic stresses.
Over the last six years we have worked closely with growers all around the world in all type of crops including pasture, broad acreage, row crops, field vegetables, speciality crops and hydroponics, during which we discovered there was more to our technology than just facilitating a soil microbial analysis. Our SporSenz technology facilitates crop-specific analysis for an understanding of a field microbial community and help drive key agronomy decisions, but how do growers then take the next step and increase their agricultural productivity sustainably?
Our DNA sequencing methodologies can decipher the molecular richness of the microbes collected from agricultural soils and can be used to discover superior microbial biofungicides and biofertilisers. By discovering microbial based environmentally sustainable alternatives to conventional agrochemical products, we can help growers minimise soil degradation, biodiversity destruction and water pollution whilst also improving their crop yields to guarantee food security.
Having founded FungiAlert in 2015 with the mission of developing tools to support sustainable agriculture, today, our mission is to help minimise agriculture’s environmental impact whilst sustainably increasing crop productivity. We are focused on discovering sustainable farming solutions by carrying out skilled microbiological and biochemical experiments and identifying potential microbial bio-products that can restore the biodiversity of degraded soils and enhance or replace the activity of agrochemical inputs.
With a new evolved mission to develop sustainable microbial treatments that could restore soil biology, improve its health, and limit erosion it was important to also evolve the brand to reflect this new stage in our journey. In September 2021 we launched FA Bio after receiving a seed investment round, we are now focussed on growing our team to deliver our mission evolution.
As we embark on this new stage of our journey, we are excited to harness collaborations with growers and continue to engage in new partnerships to help us carry out more microbial sampling campaigns. These partnerships will enable the growth of our Microbial Library and understanding of the key soil microbial communities.
Our plan is to ensure the development of our microbial candidates biofertilisers and biofungicides into products that can be used by growers by licensing microbial candidates as active ingredients to strategic partners who can manufacture the product and commercialise it through their distribution network. Together we can protect the natural ecosystems we need to sustain life by providing game-changing bio-products for agriculture, using innovative technology, that can replace chemical inputs.
FA Bio plans to lead a paradigm shift in the discovery of microbial products whilst minimising agriculture’s environmental impact. Microbes can help feed the world and we plan to demonstrate to growers, manufacturers, and funding bodies that microbes and plants are intimate partners in every life process and are essential for soil health.
Ángela de Manzanos Guinot, PhD, CEO and Co-Founder of FA Bio (previously FungiAlert)