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Can plant microbes help feed the world?

As global food demand increases, the agricultural sector is faced with the challenge of increasing productivity while reducing the sector’s environmental impact. To help farmers and consumers address this issue, Chr. Hansen uses bacteria to develop and produce natural solutions that help increase yield and protect crops against disease.

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What are microbes and why do they matter to plant health?

Microbes in the soil function much like the human microbiome, which helps break down food, access nutrients and defend against harmful invaders. With the help of genetic analysis new information can be uncovered about the link between microbes and plant health, uncovering clues as to which bacteria, fungus or virus can help plants withstand unhealthy conditions such as heat, drought and diseases.

Feeding the world in 2050

Global agricultural is facing a substantial productivity challenge in the years ahead. According to the World Resources Institute, the agricultural sector needs to produce nearly 70% more crops by 2050 to feed the world’s growing population compared to 2006 levels1. This means that crop yields will need to increase by more than one third from 2006 to 2050 compared to the previous 44 years. And with climate change adding additional stress to productivity in many agricultural regions, the industry needs innovative and sustainable solutions to help meet the growing demand for food.


Finding the answers in nature

One approach to improving agricultural productivity comes from nature itself in the form of the bacteria that live in, on and around plants. According to the American Academy of Microbiology, microbial solutions to improve plant health have the potential to increase crop productivity by 20% and reduce fertilizer and pesticide requirements by 20% within 20 years.2  

Chr. Hansen has over 140 years of experience in microbials, and we utilise this expertise to produce bacterial solutions that have been proven to not only increase crop yield but also help prevent disease and protect crops from pests and drought stress.  


"No one knows microbiology and fermentation better than the team at Chr. Hansen. Their expertise in scouting, screening and scale-up production complements the work we do so well in formulation and bringing products to market."

Mark A. Douglas, President FMC Agricultural Solutions


Towards a sustainable alternative for farmers worldwide

Over the last several years, we have developed a broad portfolio of biological products and central to our success is collaboration with select business partners. In 2013 the FMC corporation helped us launch NEMIX® C, the first biological product for sugar cane farmers in Brazil, and our partnership continues to bear fruit. We have also recently joined forces with global agricultural solutions provider UPL in a unique partnership to strengthen the existing portfolio of microbial products and provide farmers with sustainable choices beyond conventional agricultural products.




1 WRI: Crop Breeding: Renewing the global commitment, working paper
2 “How Microbes can help feed the world”, American Academy of Microbiology, 2012