I’m thrilled to announce the debut of InnerTomato™ living sensor, InnerPlant’s first product. InnerTomato is a genetically adapted living sensor plant that signals when it’s thirsty or sick. These signals –– viewable via an iPhone, satellite, or drone –– alert farmers to potential crop needs weeks before problems arise, thus reducing the use of preemptive chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Farmers maximize yield and profits, and crops are healthier for human consumption.
How it works
Plants alert their neighbor plants of stress by secreting chemicals from their roots and leaves to trigger their neighbors’ defense mechanisms. InnerPlant amplifies these natural signals by adding a safe protein, long studied for human consumption, to plants’ natural capabilities. When InnerTomatoes are thirsty, lacking nutrients or under attack by pests or pathogens, the leaves fluoresce in different colors, serving as an early warning system for growers. Farmers need only a small cluster of InnerTomato living sensors per field to have an effective defense system.
Why it matters
Since the 1950s, at least 512 unique species of U.S. weeds have gained resistance to chemicals, forcing farmers to use an ever-expanding cocktail of chemicals. This so-called “pesticide treadmill” is wreaking havoc on the environment, harming aquatic life, polluting the soil, reducing microbial diversity, and eliminating organic matter that retains water and makes farmland more resilient to droughts.
InnerTomato frees farmers from the pesticide treadmill, empowering them to adapt existing tractor fleets to administer nutrients and crop protection on demand, on a plant-by-plant basis, rather than by spraying entire fields.
Read more about the pesticide treadmill in my Forbes article.
More InnerPlant species
InnerTomato delivers healthy plants that help farmers reduce fertilizer and pesticide use, improve land-use via early detection, and grow healthy produce. It’s the first of many upcoming InnerPlant species that will level the playing field for farmers.
We’re also applying our plant-based signaling technology to soybeans and cover crops with the goal of turning every plant into a living sensor to give farmers easy-to-use tools that boost yields and supply consumers with healthy food while preserving the environment.
Read the news on InnerTomato:
- Food and Farming Technology: “InnerPlant launches InnerTomato™ a living plant sensor for early disease detection”
- Sacramento Business Journal: “Ag-Tech Company InnerPlant Launches Tomato That Signals When Problems Arise.” (subscription required)
- Press Release: “InnerPlant Launches InnerTomato™ – Breakthrough Living Sensor Plant Gives Farmers Augmented Reality Tool That Shows When Fields Are Sick Using An iPhone”