They’re alive! Microbe manufacturing

3Bar Biologics is a start-up company based in Columbus that has developed a way to deliver living microbes to improve yield and sustainability. Ag & Med Biotech Academy workshop participants toured the facility to learn about this process and its application in modern agriculture.

Chief Technical Officer Jane Fife shared about how technology is being used to support farmers. To address environmental concerns, it’s important to reduce the amount of fertilizer and pesticides used. “Farmers want to do the right thing but they need the tools to do so,” Fife said.

Microbes are part of other products, but time and temperature are their enemies. 3Bar Biologics’ product Bio-YIELD is an all-natural, sustainable microbe inoculant system that allows activation of the microbes on-site at a chosen time. The two step, push-button process combines liquid nutrients with microbes to provide a product ready to go in 24 to 38 hours, freshly fermented.

This product is put in a tank with starter fertilizer and the liquid is sprayed as seeds are planted—precision delivery. It provides ongoing plant health benefits in high concentration to outcompete the existing biome. “Microbes are little chemistry factories, producing all sorts of good things that help plants,” Fife said. “You can think about them as probiotics for plants.”

The tour of 3Bar Biologics allowed teachers to learn more about the role of biotech in agriculture. They are better informed about the many in-demand careers associated with these fields!