Better for the environment, farmers and you: PivotBio leverages biology for sustainable and higher yield agriculture

Bryan Johnson
Feb 8 · 2 min read

OS Fund portfolio company made an exciting announcement that is a proof point of our thesis: companies commercializing deep tech represent solutions to our most pressing challenges as well as outsize returns. The previous era was built on silicon, the future will be built on atoms, molecules, organisms and complex systems.

Pivot Bio’s flagship product, PROVEN™, is a microbe-based alternative to nitrogen-based fertilizer. An alternative is critical: half of our world’s food supply is dependent on synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, yet it has serious environmental impacts. Fertilizer contributes to about 500 ocean dead zones around the globe, decomposes into nitrous oxide which is responsible for about 5% of global warming, and prevents the natural ability of soil microbes to produce nitrogen that nourish food crops.

On February 6th, Pivot Bio announced that PROVEN™ outperformed chemical nitrogen fertilizer in the company’s 2018 national trials. Growers who used this product, the industry’s first sustainable nitrogen-producing microbe for corn, consistently observed better ROI and outcomes, including harvesting superior yields — a 7.7 bushel per acre advantage — when compared to relying solely on chemical fertilizer. Nearly 11,000 on-farm and research trials were conducted across multiple states, demonstrating Pivot Bio’s nitrogen-producing microbes can reduce or replace chemical nitrogen, maximize yield potential and provide a strong return on investment.

For the first time ever, growers were able to maximize yield efficiency with an environmentally sustainable product that, unlike chemical fertilizer, stays with the plant as it grows and is not washed away into waterways or volatilized into the air as a form of fertilizer-linked pollution. Pivot Bio’s product works within existing farming practices and equipment, making it easy for farmers to incorporate into their nitrogen management programs.

Based on conservative calculations, when the use of Pivot Bio PROVEN™ expands to just 35 percent of the U.S. corn market, nearly 20,000 metric tons of nitrous oxide emissions could be reduced or prevented, which is equivalent to taking nearly 1.5 million cars off the road. Additionally, the use of Pivot Bio PROVEN™ may prevent up to 500,000 metric tons of nitrates leaching into waterways

Pivot Bio succeeded in an incredible and challenging feat: commercializing a product that outperforms its competition and is globally sustainable. invests in entrepreneurs, like Karsten Temme, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of Pivot Bio, who build breakthrough discoveries in deep technology (hard science + technology) to bring solutions to market that address our most pressing global problems and deliver outsize returns to investors. OS Fund’s portfolio companies are using applied computational intelligence to commercialize products in genomics, synthetic biology, diagnostics, new materials, data, and energy.

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Bryan Johnson

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Founder @KernelCo @OSFund & Braintree

Future Literacy

Creating mental models for an emerging future