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Professor Mark Blaskovich, CEAStAR centre director, Professor Darren Trott, CEAStAR centre deputy director, and Dr Bicheng Yang, director of MGI Australia (from L to R) (Image source: MGI Tech)

MGI Australia Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of MGI Tech Co. Ltd, recently announced its partnership with The University of Queensland (UQ) led Centre for Environmental and Agricultural Solutions to Antimicrobial Resistance (CEAStAR), aiming to combat antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) infections affecting human health, agriculture, and the environment

MGI's proprietary DNBSEQ technology, renowned for its high accuracy and efficiency in genetic sequencing, plays a pivotal role in CEAStAR's efforts to combat antimicrobial resitance. 

"Our goal is to deliver new antimicrobials for animal use, alternative treatments, and advanced detection methods to mitigate the spread of resistant microbes across sectors," said centre director professor Mark Blaskovich, while emphasising the urgent need for alternatives to antibiotics in agriculture and veterinary medicine.

When integrated with MGI's automated laboratory systems, the DNBSEQ technology enables portable, on-site sequencing solutions. These solutions empower rapid detection, surveillance, and monitoring of AMR in diverse environmental settings, including wastewater and agricultural environments.

As part of the CEAStAR initiative, on World Food Day 2023 MGI announced support for an industry-driven graduate research project focused on developing sequencing-based surveillance to monitor antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in the water environment.

"We have successfully collaborated with UQ, utilising our cutting-edge sequencing technology to detect SARS-CoV-2 variants and antibiotic resistance genes in wastewater," said director of MGI Australia, Dr Bicheng Yang. "We look forward to expanding this partnership, continuing to develop and apply innovative solutions to combat AMR."

TİKA established a vegetable and moringa production garden for 100 women members of Yaloufoiram Women’s Group. (Image source: TİKA)

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) has established a vegetable and moringa garden in the Yaloufoiram village of Niger, boosting women employment

Rural areas of Zinder are one of the regions most affected by acute drought cases in Niger. The government of Niger plays a huge role in encouraging the establishment of agricultural production facilities in the region. This largely helps in meeting the nutritional needs of the growing population and ensuring food security in the region.

Women play a significant role in agricultural production processes in Niger and the establishment of the production garden has enabled 100 women members of the Yaloufoiram Women’s Group, who are engaged in agriculture in the Yaloufoiram village of Dogo, in Zinder, to earn their living, contribute to the supply chain of the region, and boost agricultural production capacity of the region.

The garden, spanning a total area of 3 hectares, features 2 water wells and a water tank powered by solar energy panels, California-type irrigation systems, material warehouses and necessary agricultural equipment. The moringa plant is well-known for its rapid growth and high consumption in Niger and is anticipated to generate income in a short period of its industrial production. 

A training on cocoa fertilisation with farmers in Watte village San Pedro Cote dIvoire. (Image source: AfDB)

The Africa Fertiliser Financing Mechanism’s trade guarantee project in Cote d’Ivoire is a US$2mn guarentee scheme which was set up to enable farmers to receive capacity-building in fertiliser use and good agricultural practices, while also helping them obtain fertilisers on credit from international fertiliser distributors like OCP Africa

Driven by the hope to boost crop yields, most smallholder farmers in Cote d’Ivoire acquire fertilisers through informal credit, cooperatives and microfinance institutions. However, improper application of these fertilisers often leads to disappointments, with harvests and incomes falling short of expectations.

Initiatives like the trade guarentee project therefore help equip smallholder farmers with the technical skills and know-how to enhance their yields and income. Classes organised under the shade of cocoa trees helps learners to carefully follow instructions as they demonstrate the appropriate fertiliser doses and application techniques for cocoa trees. They also cover the recommended pruning and hoeing practices. A key point emphasised is fertiliser spreading in a circle, one metre away from the tree trunk.

This holistic approach not only encourages good agricultural practices but also combines it with appropriate fertiliser use, thus aiming to improve productivity and empower farmers in Cote d’Ivoire. 


Darling Ingredients plans to begin with its first five plants in the US and later expand to other facilities depending on feasibility and market conditions. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Aiming to reduce emissions from its wastewater treatment plants, Darling Ingredients Inc on 5 June, announced its partnership with GreenGasUSA to capture and convert biogas to renewable natural gas (RNG)

Renowned for being a producer of renewable energy and turning food waste into sustainable products, Darling Ingredients plans to begin with its first five plants in the US and later expand to other facilities depending on feasibility and market conditions. 

CEO and founder of GreenGas USA, Marc Fetten expressed his excitement regarding the agreement, while emphasising on their mission to provide economically beneficial solutions to businesses, thereby helping them to reduce their environmental impact. 

"Darling Ingredients has been at the forefront of the effort to repurpose waste and integrate circularity into industrial operations and GreenGas is proud to support this mandate by partnering to convert agricultural and food waste into a valuable renewable energy product,” said Fetten. 

Chairman and CEO of Darling Ingredients, Randall C Stuewe also highlighted that by combining their deep knowledge of RNG obtained from their position in Europe with GreenGas's capabilities in the US, the company aims to significantly decrease its greenhouse gas emissions and help develop a successful RNG business in the US.

The Alliance aims to enhance sustainable agriculture in sugar cane farms. (Image source: Biome Makers)

Global agtech company, Biome Makers has proudly announced its collaborative partnership with the Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER), the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the National Union of Cane Growers (UNC-CNPR), Syngenta, Bonsucro, Biofábrica Siglo XXI and Biome Makers to promote sustainable and profitable sugarcane production

The initiative focuses on empowering farmers to integrate microbial fertilisers, organic matter, biological pest control, mechanised harvesting, and efficient water use, thereby enhancing soil health and significantly reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Biome Makers' innovative BeCrop technology will be essential in evaluating and optimising soil conditions, enabling farmers to achieve higher yields and greater sustainability.

By employing advanced DNA sequencing and machine learning, BeCrop technology helps to analyse and monitor the soil microbiome and provide actionable insights that are critical for predicting crop performance, identifying potential disease threats, and guiding sustainable soil management practices. The data, which can be accessed through the BeCrop Portal, provides detailed soil microbial community reports in a user-friendly format, assisting farmers, agronomists, and advisors in making informed decisions for the next growing season.

Co-founder and CEO of Biome Makers, Adrian Ferrero expressed his excitement to be a part of this groundbreaking alliance, stating that the BeCrop technology would deliver crucial insights into soil health, aiding farmers in implementing sustainable practices that enhance productivity and environmental stewardship. "This partnership perfectly aligns with our mission to advance agricultural sustainability through innovative biotechnological solutions,” Ferrero said. 

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