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Valent BioSciences and Kansas State University Sign Collaborative Agreement for Soil Health

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Valent BioSciences LLC and Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, announce a formal long-term agreement to advance critical research in the areas of soil health and carbon smart farming. Kansas State University distinguished professor of soil microbiology, Charles W. Rice, a world-renowned researcher in carbon cycling and climate change, will oversee this initiative. A portion of the project funding will provide support for a doctoral student and a postdoctoral researcher.

“This collaboration with Kansas State University marks the next important and exciting step in our commitment to soil health in agriculture,” said Warren Shafer, vice president, Global R&D and Regulatory Affairs at Valent BioSciences. “The specific projects being conducting with the university will help us remain the thought leader in the fields of carbon and nitrogen cycling, as influenced by the soil microbiome. These projects are part of a larger initiative led by our parent company, Sumitomo Chemical Company, to mitigate climate change by reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

The overarching goal of the collaborative program with Kansas State University is to study the complex interactions that control soil carbon stability and carbon and nitrogen dynamics. The joint research team will evaluate how MycoApply brand soil inoculants (containing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi) and soil conservation management practices together influence soil health. Healthy agricultural soils can reduce the impacts of climate change and offset greenhouse gases by stabilizing nitrogen and carbon.

Soil cores from the Kansas State University studies will be evaluated and analyzed at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, Missouri, using the organization’s state-of-the-art imaging technologies. Valent BioSciences maintains an ongoing collaboration with the Danforth Center to further define and shape the science of soil health. Scientists at the Danforth Center are using X-ray imaging equipment and computer learning to pioneer new techniques that shape the way we observe interactions between plant roots and beneficial soil microorganisms within the rhizosphere.

“This private/public partnership leverages global strengths for both organizations to address significant climate change research needs,” said David V. Rosowsky, Kansas State University vice president for Research. “Dr. Rice’s unmatched expertise in soil health will be invaluable to this initiative, as will the tremendous assets our corporate partners can provide. This is a model for how the nation’s land-grant universities can address global issues.”