Fermenting the future.
We cannot decode the relationship between the microbiome and human health without also addressing how bacteria can make an impact beyond our bodies.
Up to one million plant and animal species now face extinction because of human activities. The cities we make and the materials we use are not sustainable. The plastic we dispose of will continue to fill our ground for another hundred thousand years. But, single-celled bacteria may be a solution.
We founded SeedLabs to develop novel applications for bacteria, partnering with kindred innovators to solve some of the biggest problems facing our collective home.
Agriculture & Food Supply
As pollinators, honey bees are critical to approximately a third of our global food crops. But widespread pesticide use, along with climate change, disease, and habitat loss, has contributed to colony collapse disorder, reducing honey bee populations at an alarming rate. Until a pesticide-free world is possible, we must find ways to spare them (and our environment) from the side effects.
Our Chief Scientist, Dr. Gregor Reid, and Seed Fellow, Brendan Daisley, have identified probiotic strains that increase immune resilience through a pathway that insects use to adapt to infection, heat, and other stresses. Delivery via Seed’s probiotic BioPatties shows immense potential in tempering the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides, improving survival rates, and restoring honey bee populations around the world. These probiotic BioPatties have also shown success in the prevention and treatment of a fatal bacterial disease called American foulbrood, caused by a spore forming bacterium called P. larvae.
Field tests have begun in Canada and California. The results are promising and the development of an aerosol spray-based product is also underway.
Are you a beekeeper? Get in touch.
The microorganisms that colonize plants play a huge role in the shaping of our planet—from our natural flora and vegetation, to agriculture and food supply, and ultimately, to human health. In order to care for ourselves, we must also care for them.
Seed is developing a consortia of soil-based bacterial strains that colonize the roots of agricultural plants, increasing growth rates, crop-yield, and resilience to stress, all for less than the cost of commercial fertilizer. There are tremendous opportunities for this application across the globe, especially in developing countries.
Over 1 trillion plastic bags are produced and disposed of annually in the US alone. Polyethylene, the most used plastic, is being accumulated at a rate of 25 million tons a year.
Our oceans are drowning in it—according to the World Economic Forum, there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050.
We are working with the discovery of a plastic-eating bacteria that can break down and degrade polyethylene. Imagine harnessing the power of these microbes to erode the waste in our streets, fields, and oceans.
Polyhydroxyalkanoates. Say that at your next dinner party. Then proceed to tell everyone that a better future is coming. Strains of bacteria are now known to be able to convert biomass into a biodegradable plastic alternative that does not require petroleum, and is also renewable.
Seed is in the prototyping phases of a bacteria-produced bioplastic that will naturally degrade in soil.
Every package we send out has a past, and a future, too.
How do we ensure that it’s a positive one?
We pioneer the use of biomaterials, partnering with kindred innovators, to create products that are not only sustainable, but can leave a beneficial footprint.
The Future of Bacteria
The blockchain revolution is here, and it’s only the beginning of what’s possible. From supply chain visibility (so you can see for yourself everything that goes into our product) to patient privacy and data integrity in our clinical trials, we are exploring the many ways decentralized technology can be used to build a more efficient, accountable, and transparent system.
One of the biggest challenges with space travel is the ability to store large quantities of food for extended periods of time. Microbes offer the unique advantage of producing nutritionally dense food in anaerobic (oxygen deprived) conditions through microbial fermentation.
SeedLabs is working to prove that the microbes retain sufficient viability in microgravity, then assess a practical means for them to be hydrated and engage in microbial fermentation in space.
"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe."
The health of our bodies is inextricably linked to the health of our planet. We are a microcosm of earth’s larger ecosystem. The bacteria that live in and on us connect us to all other living things. They are the Internet of Everything.