Seed World

Benson Hill Biosystems Acquires Schillinger Genetics

Soy beans in tractor trailer

Benson Hill will deliver and expand the portfolio of soybean varieties with superior protein content and quality for human food and animal feed markets.

Benson Hill Biosystems announced at the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit that it has acquired the assets of Schillinger Genetics, also known as eMerge Genetics. The combined entities will employ Benson Hill’s CropOS predictive breeding and gene editing capabilities to accelerate development of an expanded portfolio of more nutritious and sustainable varieties for the growing human food and animal feed markets.

Soybean is one of the largest and most complete sources of protein globally, but protein content has decreased over time due to limitations of breeding for both nutrition and yield. The team at eMerge Genetics spent decades targeting yield and nutrient density simultaneously, delivering a portfolio of soybeans with traits that are in higher demand from food companies and other end users.

“For twenty years, we’ve made it our mission to develop unique soybean varieties that create greater profitability for our customers and more choice for consumers,” says John Schillinger, founder and CEO of eMerge Genetics. “It’s deeply fulfilling to know that life’s work will be expanded and accelerated by Benson Hill’s technology and shared commitment to that goal.”

Demand for higher-protein grain and healthier oils continues to increase both domestically and overseas as food companies seek more plant-based protein products, functional foods and greater focus on sustainability in animal production. The current eMerge portfolio includes conventional varieties yielding high protein grain and high oleic/low linolenic oil sought by food companies, as well as Navita ultra low anti-nutrient varieties with enhanced feed conversion sought by animal feed companies. Benson Hill’s technology will accelerate the development of an expanded pipeline of new varieties including superior protein and amino-acid profile, improved feed digestibility, low trypsin inhibitor and other qualities sought by niche and high-volume end users.

Benson Hill’s CropOS platform and suite of breeding and gene editing technologies identify the most promising genetics for any targeted outcome from higher yield and environmental sustainability to enhanced taste and nutrition. The platform’s machine learning capability calibrates and evolves with each field trial and data set, improving its predictive capability to accelerate product development.

“The foresight and hard work of John Schillinger and his team have created unique opportunities to deliver what consumers are increasingly demanding, products with higher protein levels, healthier fat, and improved sustainability,” says Matthew Crisp, CEO and co-founder of Benson Hill. “The Benson Hill team is thrilled to welcome our new eMerge colleagues as part of our Seeds & Traits business unitto create even more opportunity across the value chain.”