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InnerPlant and Mertec to Develop Crops that Communicate Biological Stresses Weeks Before Problems Become Visible to Farmers

A new category of seed technology combined with elite germplasm could pave the way for plants to emit signals - detectable from as far away as space - within days of attack from pathogens, pests or lack of water or nutrients


InnerPlant, the company creating a new category of seed technology that unlocks data and makes global farming more efficient and sustainable, and Mertec LLC, a leading breeder and developer of soybean germplasm for the seed trade, today announced an agreement to bring InnerPlant traits into Mertec LLC’s proprietary germplasm.

Pairing InnerPlant’s technology with Mertec’s elite soybean germplasm could lead to crops that emit signals when they’re under stress from pathogens or lack water or nutrients. Critically, the signals are visible from satellites, as well as tractors, and appear weeks before farmers would be able to see problems in the field.

“Farmers and agronomists understand that plants possess inherent knowledge of their needs,” said Joe Merschman, president of Mertec LLC. “This emerging field of seed technology holds the potential to enhance our understanding of these requirements, leading to improved efficiency and higher yields.”

Studies show that farmers lose as much as 40% of yields or $220B worldwide due to pathogens in spite of overapplication that sees as much as 30% or $250B of pesticides wasted - negatively impacting our air, water and soil.

Earlier detection and more responsive, plant-specific interventions offer a way to prevent waste and losses but historically farmers lacked early actionable data. InnerPlant’s new category of seed technology delivers traits that tap directly into plants’ physiology and provide farmers with actionable data that is both early and specific to particular stresses in a scalable and economical way.

“Better data directly from plants gives farmers the tools they need to increase yields while reducing chemical inputs,” said Shely Aronov, CEO and founder of InnerPlant. “Combining our new category of seed technology with Mertec’s elite germplasm is a key step toward putting that data into farmers’ hands.”

News of the agreement with Mertec follows InnerPlant’s recent collaboration with Satellogic to build the first-ever instrument designed to detect human-made crop signals from space and launch it onboard a satellite in Q4 2023.

About InnerPlant
InnerPlant is a team of curious scientists and entrepreneurs creating an innovative new category of seed technology that harnesses plant physiology and unlocks data at scale to boost global agricultural yields and sustainability. The company was founded in 2018 by Shely Aronov and Rod Kumimoto. InnerPlant was recently recognized with a Special Mention TIME Best Inventions and was named a finalist in General Excellence by Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards. For more information visit:

About Mertec LLC
Mertec LLC, based in West Point, Iowa, is a leading breeder and developer of soybean germplasm for the seed trade. Mertec has an extensive line-up of soybean germplasm for the maturities in the United States. Mertec has entered into strategic relationships with biotech and life science companies to deliver the latest traits and technologies to farmer growers in Mertec’s high-yielding soybean germplasm.

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 Mertec Llc
 Harry Stine

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