DuPont and Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., have announced a research and commercial agreement to improve nitrogen use efficiency in corn.

Under the agreement, DuPont business Pioneer Hi-Bred has exclusive rights to Arcadia's proprietary technology for improving nitrogen use efficiency in corn.

“This collaboration gives a significant boost to the progress we've already made in developing corn hybrids that use nitrogen more efficiently,” said William S. Niebur, vice-president, DuPont Crop Genetics Research and Development. “We look forward to partnering with Arcadia to further develop a technology that will help farmers increase the productivity, profitability and sustainability of global corn production.”

Farmers around the world depend on a combination of nitrogen fertilizer and advanced genetics and technology to increase productivity. According to the International Fertilizer Association, and the Food and Agriculture Organization, more than 12.5 million metric tons of nitrogen fertilizer are applied globally each year to corn. Nitrogen fertilizer prices, which are closely tied to natural gas prices, continue to rise, making efficient use of nitrogen fertilizer an increasingly important issue in grower profitability.

Corn is a key focus for the application of nitrogen use efficiency technology because it is one of the most important global food crops and an intensive user of nitrogen fertilizer. Like most crops, corn only absorbs some of the nitrogen that is applied to it, resulting in economic inefficiencies for farmers. Although farmers have taken great strides to reduce runoff, a portion of the unabsorbed nitrogen can enter waterways or volatize into the air as a greenhouse gas.

“We've demonstrated in multiple field trials over the past five years that our nitrogen use efficiency technology can offer farmers a sound improvement in farm economics that also results in environmentally positive impacts,” said Eric Rey, president and CEO of Arcadia.

“Pioneer has a long history of innovation and successful commercialization of new products and an extremely strong reputation and high level of trust among farmers. Their ability to develop and commercialize new corn hybrids utilizing this important technology makes this alliance particularly exciting. The end result will be products that significantly improve farm economics while helping to reduce the global carbon footprint of agriculture.”

Pioneer is aggressively pursuing enhanced efficiency in nitrogen use — applying both transgenic and traditional research methods for future hybrid improvement. The collaboration with Arcadia builds on nitrogen use efficiency work already under way at Pioneer.

For more information, visit www.arcadiabio.com.