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Bio-Based Products, The Key to Better Yields

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Ian Klein, Spero Energy senior scientist, holds a vial of renewable, biobased chelates that could be used to increase crop production and yields. (Photo provided by Spero Energy)

Today, most farmers use chemical-based crop protection products to improve plant health and yields, but the future may belong to products based on biology rather than chemistry. Spero Energy Inc. has received a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $100,000 to conduct research and development to increase the availability and competitiveness of biobased products within the agricultural market.

Spero Energy developed a series of renewable, biobased chelates, which are molecules used to bind essential micronutrients and deliver them efficiently to a variety of crops. Effective use of biobased chelates is shown to increase crop production and yields. “A major limitation within the agricultural chelates market is the lack of high-performing and cost-competitive biodegradable chelates. The patent-pending chelates we have developed at Spero are created using natural materials, and are designed to be both high-performing and biodegradable,” said Ian Klein Ph.D., Spero Energy senior scientist. “This funding will allow us to finalize the formulation of our biodegradable chelates, increase the scale of the reactions, and further prepare for commercialization.”

Spero Energy developed the technology in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette. Spero Energy has licensed other technologies through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization. Spero Energy originated as a Purdue startup and the company incorporated in Indiana.