Bruce Caldwell, CEO of 3Bar Biologics
On delivering fresh microbes to farmers, the challenges and opportunities for biologicals and working more closely with fertilizer producers
Can you tell us about 3Bar Biologics?
3Bar Biologics is a cutting-edge biotech company that helps the agricultural value chain optimize their solutions for improving quantity and quality of crop production. 3Bar’s proprietary delivery method grows fresh microbes on-site to ensure farmers have the most viable beneficial microbes at the time of application. These microbes can improve nutrient use efficiency, as well as stimulate plant defenses to a range of environmental stresses, diseases, and pests. By partnering with innovative companies and research universities, 3Bar is delivering the highest quality and most cost-effective biological microbe solutions to drive profitability for the agriculture industry.
Congratulations on winning IFA’s first ever Plant Nutrition Startup Showcase in Montreal in June! Can you tell us about your experience at the event?
The Showcase was a great opportunity for us to meet fertilizer manufacturers from around the world. The fertilizer industry has historically not been involved in leveraging soil biology to improve nutrient use efficiency. We see that changing quickly as the needs of a growing population and concerns about nutrient pollution and environmental impacts are increasing.
What do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities for biologicals?
The big issue with the biologics sector is that the products need to perform better in the field. Consistency and in-field performance have been the industry’s Achilles’ Heel. The issue with living products like biologics is that our supply chain is designed for synthetic chemicals that can withstand long storage times and rapidly changing temperatures but living biologics can die off and not perform consistently in this environment. Overcoming this challenge is the focus of our company and we believe it is the greatest opportunity for improving biologics ability to play a much more significant role in driving agriculture productivity and sustainability in the future.
How do you see 3Bar Biologics working with the fertilizer industry?
With the connections we made in Montreal and continue to make afterwards, we believe we can partner with a number of fertilizer producers to provide unique and value-added biologics products which work synergistically with nutrient sources.
What other areas of plant nutrition do you think are particularly ripe for innovation?
Improving nutrient use efficiency and combining the power of soil microbiology with plant nutrition products is a major breakthrough area which will have a huge impact on human development and global agricultural production, just like the areas of human and animal nutrition and health are being disrupted by learning about the gut microbiome.