National Microbiome Initiative Earmarks $500K for Microbiome Study

By Ananda Lynn Fitzsimmons

On May 13, the White House launched the National Microbiome Initiative, a huge effort involving numerous federal agencies, private foundations, universities and companies aimed at deepening our understanding of microbial communities that are the basis of all life. Jo Handelsman, the associate director for science at the White House Office of Science and Technology stated at the launch event “In the past 10 years, we’ve come to understand how essential the microbiome is to the world around us.”

The microscopic inhabitants of all living ecosystems exert a profound influence on their ability to function effectively. All of the major federal and private organizations participating in this initiative recognize that until we understand the intricacies of the ecosystems surrounding us, we will not have the tools we need to intervene appropriately.. Whether it is human health, agriculture, climate change or ocean ecology, virtually every area of human endeavor will be changed by understanding microbiomes. Scientists need tools and models to understand the behavior of microbial communities, to know what makes them healthy or dysfunctional and to understand how to alter them.

A cadre of US federal agencies will be contributing $121M to this Initiative, including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, NASA, Department of Energy, and Department of Agriculture. An additional $400M will come from various universities, companies and foundations, including $100M from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

At Inocucor, we have been doing pioneering work in the field of microbial communities for years. Suddenly, we are feeling that we are in very good company, running at the front of the pack. I have no doubt we will be seeing profound advances in our field as a result of this deepened attention and funding. We are excited to be a part of it.


Inocucor Technologies Inc., based in Montreal, is an ag biotech company that develops sustainable biological products for agriculture targeting the phyto-microbiome—the seeds, plants, root systems and the soil surrounding them. Inocucor’s first-generation product, Garden Solution®, soon to be re-branded as Synergro, employs live microbes to actively improve the health of the entire phyto-microbiome. Its second product, Synergro Free and future generations of Inocucor products are powerful biological formulations for bio-stimulation, bio-fertility and bio-control targeting mainstream production agriculture.

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