8:30 am Coffee & Networking

9:00 am Industry Leaders Panel Discussion


• What is the status of this field, firstly from a scientific perspective and secondly, from a product development perspective?
• Plotting the road to success: what is our end goal, what are the applications of the industry’s R&D efforts and what hurdles must be
overcome to get there?
• What are the most promising hot pockets of innovation opportunity in product development?
• What effect has COVID-19 had on the industry and what long-term impact will this have?

9:30 am Speed Networking



Understanding the Interactions Between the Plant, Soil & Microbiome

Achieving a Consistent & Stable Microbial Product in the Field

10.15 Roles of endophytic biostimulant microbes in crop growth stimulation and protection from stresses

  • How endophytic microbes stimulate plant growth and development
  • How microbes provide nutrients to plants
  • How plants use exudates to recruit soil microbes as endophytes in the rhizophagy cycle

James White, Professor, Rutgers University

10.15 Bioformulation of microbial products: the realities of scale-up and supply chain on product quality

  • Translating microbial technologies that work well in a research setting to a commercial product remains challenging
  • Bioformulation and delivery of a high concentration of highly viable, fit microbes is central to improving plant colonization and increasing reproducibility in the field
  • As production scale gets larger, variations in large vessel conditions used for manufacturing cause microbes to become stressed and less phenotypically and genetically stable
  • Innovation in production, formulation, packaging and delivery is needed to improve the quality and efficacy of living microbial products

Jane Fife, Chief Technology Officer, 3BarBiologics

10.40 A survey of bacterial endophytes, their characteristics and plant growth promotive properties

  • A survey of bacterial endophytes, their characteristics and plant growth promotive properties
  • Characteristics, such as plant hormone production, translate to positive greenhouse screens
  • Biocontrol properties can be very specific

Scott Lowman, Director, Applied Research, The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research

10.40 The Current & Future of Microbial Performance, Contamination & Stability for Bioagriculture

  • Exploring product stabilization
  • Improving assay development
  • Understanding rapid microbial methods

Benjamin Reed, Head, Microbial Assay Development, Novozymes

11.05 Using Soil Microbes to Promote Soil and Human Health

  • Agricultural soil is damaged through the overuse of synthetic amendments, resulting in decreased soil fertility and soil health exacerbated by a changing climate
  • Bacteria isolated from arid soils have the potential for restoring both plant growth and soil fertility, both of which influences human health
  • “The Nation that destroys its soil destroys itself” F.D Roosevelt

Ann Hirsch, Professor, UCLA

11.05 Precision Optimization as a Mean to Drive Efficacy, Consistency & Commercial Viability of Live Microbiome Based Products

  • Understanding Lavie Bio’s Biology Driven Design (BDD), genomics based artificial intelligence platform is focussed on the Precision Optimization of Live Microbial Products, Addressing the Challenges of Product Efficacy, Consistency & Commercial Viability
  • Through a targeted approach relying on genetic functions, the BDD platform enables the design of Precision Optimization of live microbiome-based products based on genetic manipulation, formulation technologies and fermentation protocols

Ido Dor, Chief Executive Officer, Lavie-Bio

11.30 Fluid Air Inc.

11:45 am Networking Lunch

12.45 Auxin Degradation by the Genus Variovorax maintains stereotypic root development in a complex microbiome

  •  Variovorax species manipulate plant hormone levels to balance the effects of ecologically realistic root communities on Arabidopsis root development
  • A locus of auxin degradation genes conserved in all Variovorax species is required to perform this metabolic signal interference in the complex plant microbiome
  • The Variovorax auxin degradation locus is regulated by a MarR family transcriptional regulator which derepresses this locus in the presence of auxins.

Jonathan Conway, Postdoctoral Researcher (Dangl Lab), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Showcasing How to Move From the Greenhouse to the Field

12.45 Understanding How to Repeat Lab/Greenhouse Results in the Field

  • Discussing BioConsorita's system of tagging and root colonization
  • Delving into multi-trait screening
  • Multiple hits on goal with multiple leads with superior efficacy and higher consistency in the field

Marcus Meadows-Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Bioconsortia Pharmaceuticals

13.10 Optimizing the Plant Phyllosphere Microbiome for Health & Sustainability

  • The phyllosphere microbiome can shape plant yield and disease susceptibility, and thus offer great potential for increasing agricultural sustainability
  • Application of simplified phyllosphere communities can be used to optimize plant health
  • The key open questions to translate these data into agricultural application and how durable, general, and scalable these approaches are

Britt Koskella, Associate Professor, UC Berkeley

13.10 Supporting Product Development Using Your Data – Your Most Valuable Asset

  • The more trusted the better
  • Discussing early data considerations to maximize the number of data points collected and ensure data diversity
  • Addressing the importance of more independent data

Lafayette Thompson, President/Owner, Global Agricultural Development, Corp. & iAdvantage Software

13.20 Understanding the Development of Bioherbicides

  • Discussing moving bioherbicides into the field
  • Explaining the importance of sustainable agriculture

Amit Vasavada, Chief Executive Officer, Marrone Bio Innovations

Seeing the Microbiome as a Community

13.35 Host plant guided engineering of beneficial soil microbiomes that protect against insect pests

  • Developing a system to selectively engineer tomato rhizosphere microbiomes that increase resistance to insect pests
  • Naturally engineering insect-suppressive soil microbiome

Laramy Enders, Assistant Professor, Purdue University


13.45 Validating New Technologies Through R&D and Farm-Scale Field Research

  •  Learn how trials were designed to validate performance and identify the best environments for improved product performance
  • Gain insights on how to design trials that support R&D initiatives and product performance insights

Bruce Luzzi, Director, Field Development, Sound Ag

2:10 pm Afternoon Break

15.00 Can’t We All Just Get Along? Why Understanding Interactions in the Soil is Key to Performance of Microbials

  • How the Boost Technology Platform identifies synergistic and antagonist relationships in microbiome
  • What microbial traits are driving these interactions?
  • Comparing current approaches to consortia design

James Pearce, Chief Scientific Officer, Boost Biomes

Defining How to Make a Commercially Successful Product

15.00 Transforming Exciting Discovery Leads into Products To Reach Growers

  • Many Steps Remain After Identification of a Promising Lead and Before Registration
  • Developing Cost Effective Production Methods
  • Creating a Shelf Stable Product Formula
  • Environmental and non-target testing

Denise Manker, Global Product Support, Senior Science Fellow, Bayer Crop Science

Addressing Chemistry Within the Plant-Soil Microbiome

15.25 Aquatic Microbiome As A Surrogate Microbiome For New Chemistry For Sustainable Agriculture

Ross Youngs, Chief Executive Officer, Biosortia Pharmaceuticals

15.25 Do AgBiological Need Innovation?

  • Exploring key industry needs identified by Lux Research through first-hand interactions with developers
  • Identifying key areas for innovation and strategies therein to succeed in this rapidly evolving industry

Joshua Haslan, Senior Analyst, Lux Research

15.50 Clonostachys Rosea: Early Inoculation, Best Results

  • Understanding the mode of action – its alive!
  • Efficacy and interaction with hard chemistry in IPM

Bill Brown, President & Chief Innovation Officer, Adjuvant Plus

15.50 Exploring the Strategies to Make Your Product Successful

  • How do you get a successful product to the market
  • Leveraging insights from first hand experiences to improve future commercial avenues
  • How is the market evolving?

Joshua Haslan, Senior Analyst, Lux Research
Natarjan Balachander, Director, Business Development, AgBiome Innovations
Kent Wood, Director, Plant Biology, Pivot Bio
Darin Lickfeldt, Senior Innovation Portfolio Manager, Nutrien Ag Solutions
Dennis Donohue, Director, Western Growers Center for Innovation & Technology

4:35 pm End of Day One