GPRA Fiscal Year 2004 “Nugget” Retrospective Nugget—AuxiGro Crop Yield Enhancers
Emerald BioAgriculture Corporation (formally Auxein Corporation) of Lansing, MI, more than doubled sales of its commercial crop yield enhancer, AuxiGro®, over the past year. In research conducted under NSF’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, Emerald Bio developed a crop yield enhancer based on GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid). Currently, the product is used on field crops such as potatoes and sugar beets, high-value vegetables, grapes, snap beans, fruit trees, almonds, and grass for seed production.
Primary benefits of AuxiGro include increased yield on crops such as almonds and tomatoes, increased size and hence value on onions and potatoes, and increased sugar (Brix) content in crops such as grapes and sugar beets. Stress-protective benefits have also been realized with use of AuxiGro. When applied to cabbage, the plant can withstand extended exposure to freezing temperatures after treatment. When applied to grapes, the plant is better able to resist infection from powdery mildew disease. Since the active ingredient in AuxiGro is an amino acid that is naturally present in all living systems, AuxiGro can be considered a natural alternative to synthetic plant growth regulating compounds and in certain cases to synthetic chemical fungicides.
Environmental stresses such as drought, temperature extremes, and disease are important factors limiting agricultural productivity. Because crops that have been treated with AuxiGrow are better able to withstand a variety of stresses, they show improvements in many aspects of plant growth including flowering, fruit set, and root growth. The beneficial effects on crop growth provide growers with substantially improved yields. For every $1 that growers spend on AuxiGro they typically receive on average $35 in additional yield value from onions and $15 and $16 in extra yield value from snap beans and almonds, respectively.
AuxiGro is now being sold in the USA and countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America. More than $8 million in private equity investment in Emerald Bio has followed the SBIR research support to date.
This work is notable because:
This research has developed GABA technology for large increases in agricultural productivity.
Program Officer: Ritchie Coryell
PI Name: Alan Kinnersley
Institution Name: Auxein Corporation
Grant Title: SBIR Phase II: “The Role of Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) in Plant Growth and Productivity”
Entered by Joann L. Alquisa
Approved for ENG by Joanne D. Culbertson