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Bayer Strikes Deal With Ginkgo to Develop Sustainable Fertilizers

Companies will collaborate on advancing the use of microbes in agriculture

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Bayer AG and biotech company Ginkgo Bioworks Holdings Inc. will partner to develop products like more environmentally-friendly nitrogen fertilizer and weedkillers. To do that, they’ll collaborate on advancing the use of microbes in agriculture.

The move comes as agribusinesses like Bayer try to find alternatives to chemical pesticides and man-made fertilizers, with farmers increasingly under pressure to switch to more sustainable practices. Fertilizer runoff from farms can enter rivers and streams and hurt water quality. At the same time, pests and diseases are becoming more resistant to current synthetic chemicals.