Improving Seed Genetics For Indoor Ag Crops | Q & A WITH AGRIBODY TECHNOLOGIES’ Dr. Venki Pegadaraju

Dr_Venki_Pegadaraju_Agribody_Technologies“My passion has always been improving agriculture through modern technologies. I spent more than a decade working in this field using tools such as genomics and biotechnology to successfully help several crop improvement programs globally,” says Dr. Venki  Pegadaraju, Ph.D ., Vice President of Business Development and Technology, Agribody Technologies. “Agriculture as an industry has witnessed some amazing breakthroughs in the past, however, today we face new challenges: increased population, climate change, a growing middle class, and reduced land resources.  Hence, continuous innovation and adoption of new methods are necessary to sustainably address global food needs.  “

Dr. Pegadaraju will share his passion during the 7th Annual Indoor Ag-Con Las Vegas, May 22-24, 2019, as he joins the Crop Selection track line-up to lead the session, “ Impact of CRISPR on Seed Genetics,” on Wednesday. May 22  from 11-11:30 am

In anticipation of this fascinating topic, we talked to Dr. Pegadaraju to learn more about his role with Agribody Technologies, to get a sneak preview of what he’d be covering during his presentation, thoughts around the industry’s primary challenges and more.

“I’m really excited to be a part of Agribody Technologies, as my interest perfectly resonates with its mission values,” he says.  “At ATI, our focus is to make the world a better place through improving agriculture in a sustainable manner. Agribody offers a stimulating startup environment, and we have an amazing team of serial entrepreneurs who are extremely passionate about our mission to change the world through our eIF-5a/DHS genetic technology platform.”

Q: What are some of the key points you’ll be addressing during your  Indoor Ag-Con presentation:

A: We will predominantly focus on discussing key challenges as they relates to improving seed genetics for Indoor Ag crops. Further, we will provide an overview about our propriety technology platform and share a few case studies demonstrating its efficacy in improving crop yields, stress tolerance and shelf life.

Q: What do you think is the most pressing challenge in the indoor agriculture sector today and how are you and Agribody Technologies addressing it:

A: I sincerely feel there is a lack of focus on improving seed genetics as a priority. However, innovation in this space will lead to some amazing products that will benefit the end consumer and offer favorable returns on investment to Indoor Ag growers.

Several companies have focused on achieving stable and controlled environments with better quality lighting, humidity, nutrients, and automatic/adaptive controls.  However, they seem to have neglected one critical ingredient:  the “genetics.”  In fact, this area alone can offer the most potential for companies to reduces operational expenses and increase profitability.  We can’t expect a field-grown variety of lettuce to perform optimally under Indoor Ag conditions.  Developing new genetically optimized varieties with high yields, rapid growth and stress tolerance in an Indoor Ag environment is equally as important as engineering and chemistry as we struggle to achieve consistency in controlled environments.

At Agribody Technologies, we have discovered and validated crop genes that offer enormous potential to improve key crop traits and boost the performance of Indoor Agriculture crops. We have proven our technology in more than a dozen crops, including a leafy vegetable such as lettuce, and are currently offering commercial licenses and co-development opportunities to prospective Indoor Ag industry partners.

Q: What do you hope to get out of your participation in this year’s Indoor Ag-Con event in Las Vegas:

A: We hope to develop partnerships with innovative Indoor Ag companies to test and commercialize our patented genome editing technologies; improve visibility of Agribody technology in the Indoor agriculture space ; and educate people about our solution for crop improvement.

I’m really looking forward to  connecting  with key players in Indoor Ag and learning about opportunities of working together and finding solutions to address global food needs.



Speaker: Dr. Venki Pegadaraju, Ph.D, Vice President of Business Development and Technology, Agribody Technologies, Inc