Bioceres S.A., Arcadia Biosciences, Inc. and Tropical Melhoramento e Genética Ltda. have reached an agreement to develop new soybean varieties based on the HB4 stress tolerance trait. The HB4 trait – developed by Verdeca LLC, a soybean technology joint venture between Bioceres and Arcadia – enables plants to adapt to multiple environmental stresses and achieve higher yields.

Verdeca’s HB4 stress tolerance trait has undergone extensive field-testing in soybeans, including six seasons of multi-location field trials in Argentina and the United States and two years of regulatory field trials. The results of these trials demonstrate that the HB4 trait provides up to 14 percent greater yield under multiple stress conditions typically found in soybean production areas, including drought.

“This collaboration agreement is an important milestone in ensuring that soybean farmers, particularly in Brazil, have access to the HB4 stress tolerance platform while continuing to use the outstanding soybean varieties of TMG in their farms,” said Federico Trucco, CEO of Bioceres. “With this new agreement, breeding programs representing more than 35 percent of the varietal preference in Latin America have initiated HB4 breeding programs.”

“This collaboration leverages Verdeca’s trait technology and regulatory expertise with TMG’s world-class soybean germplasm, breeding capabilities and significant market share in the South American soybean seed market,” said Eric Rey, president and CEO of Arcadia Biosciences. “Our combined efforts aim to create significant value for soybean growers and end-markets by increasing the productivity and sustainability of the world’s most important protein crop.”

In April of this year, Verdeca announced that Argentinian authorities had granted regulatory approval to the HB4 stress tolerance trait in soybeans. This was the first approval for HB4 and the world’s first regulatory approval of an abiotic stress tolerance trait in soybeans. These drought tolerant soybeans are in Phase 4 of development.

“This partnership is an important step because Verdeca is an innovative company and complementary to TMG,” said Francisco Soares, CEO of TMG. "We expect that the union of both companies will bring meaningful results to agriculture. The HB4 gene holds great promise for bringing better yield stability to agriculture in areas that show water stress problems. It's an alternative beyond the solutions offered on the market today," he said.

Soybeans are the world’s fourth-largest crop, grown on 110 million hectares worldwide. Global demand is projected to increase over the next decade as a result of population growth and the expanding middle class in highly populated countries such as India and China. South America is the world’s largest exporter of soybeans to both developed and developing countries, and more than 45 percent of the world’s soybeans are grown in Argentina and Brazil. Verdeca is developing HB4 soybeans to give farmers a new option to help increase productivity and meet increasing soybean demand.