Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., an agricultural technology company focused on developing technologies and products that benefit the environment and human health, announced that the State Intellectual Property Office of China has issued the company a key patent for technology critical to controlling Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) gene function. The patent adds to the company's Chinese patent portfolio, which includes patents in both nitrogen use efficiency and salt tolerance, and is another key step in the company's efforts to help Chinese farmers improve on-farm economics, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance China's food security initiatives.
"The issuance of our second Chinese NUE patent is another critical step toward our ability to offer Chinese farmers technology to maintain high yields and benefit the environment."
Most crops are inherently inefficient in their use of nitrogen fertilizer applied to fields. Nitrogen fertilizer is a critical input to enhance crop yield. Approximately one-half of the fertilizer farmers apply is not used by the plant and either volatizes into nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, or enters ground and surface water systems. Arcadia's proprietary NUE technology enables farmers to achieve high yields using significantly less nitrogen fertilizer. The company has demonstrated the technology in field trials in numerous crops, including primary Chinese edible grains, such as rice and wheat.
"Chinese growers are striving to keep up with the country's significant demand to feed its people. Ongoing increase in population combined with a rapidly growing middle class has created a measurable need for new agricultural technologies that improve productivity and achieve low-carbon agriculture," said Eric Rey, president and CEO of Arcadia. "The issuance of our second Chinese NUE patent is another critical step toward our ability to offer Chinese farmers technology to maintain high yields and benefit the environment."
In addition to the two NUE patents Arcadia has received in China so far, the company also recently submitted a draft carbon credit methodology to the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the United Nations (U.N.) Framework Convention on Climate Change. The U.N. CDM stimulates reductions in emissions by allowing developing countries to earn carbon credits that can be traded and sold to industrialized countries. The draft methodology, which was developed in partnership with Chinese growers, would allow farmers to claim carbon credits from reduced fertilizer use in conjunction with Arcadia's NUE technology.
Globally, agriculture is the second largest industrial source of greenhouse gas emissions, and the use of nitrogen fertilizer is a major component of those emissions. Despite its significance, many efforts to incentivize adoption of low carbon practices and technologies have bypassed agriculture. If the methodology is approved, Chinese growers could add an additional revenue stream to their on-farm operations, further enhance farm economics, and do their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in China.