Loam Bio Raises $73M In Series B Round For Its Microbial Inoculum Approach

Loam Bio Raises $73M In Series B Round For Its Microbial Inoculum Approach - Carbon Herald

The agriculture sector possesses an enormous ability to store CO2 as research has been showing. A new carbon farming company called Loam Bio is advancing its approach to sequester CO2 into the soil as a way of curbing greenhouse gas emissions. 

The startup announced it has raised A$105 million ($73 million) in a Series B funding round to expand the availability of its seed coating that enhances plants’ ability to store carbon in the soil. The funding round was co-led by Lowercarbon Capital and Wollemi Capital with participation from Horizons Ventures, Acre Venture Partners, Main Sequence, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, Grok Ventures and others.

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The company also announced it has launched its CarbonBuilder seed inoculum and SecondCrop carbon business to farmers in Australia. 

Loam Bio’s approach to removing CO2 from the atmosphere includes using microbes to help plants store more CO2 into the soil. The plant seeds are coated with a microbial inoculum before sowing by farmers. These tiny soil microbes like fungi and bacteria have the ability to store carbon dioxide in stable forms.

The technology increases carbon within structures in the soil called micro-aggregates, which raises the amount of CO2 stored for the long term. The approach increases both the quantity and longevity of CO2 storage. According to the company, its technology is backed by years of research and on-farm trials.

The company’s CarbonBuilder seed inoculum helps with the longer sequestration of CO2 into the soil. As Loam Bio explains, there are different types of carbon trapped in the soil – labile and recalcitrant carbon. Labile CO2 breaks down quickly while the second kind resists decomposition and stays in the soil much longer – up to millennia. CarbonBuilder seed inoculum stores the latter kind of carbon.

“There are 1 million plants per hectare in a wheat crop… Multiply that by 1.8 billion hectares of managed farmland across the world, and you’re looking at an infrastructure that can facilitate the largest carbon drawdown event we’ve ever seen,” according to Loam co-founder Guy Hudson.

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After raising $40 million in Series A round, the company’s total investment comes to AUD 155 million ($107 million). The funding will go towards moving to the commercial stage and launching its products in Australia. 

Currently, Loam is working with a limited number of farmers in Australia but it plans to reach the commercialization stage in the US in 2024. This year, it also plans to expand its testing in Canada and Brazil that focus on the major crops grown specifically in these regions.

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