Mycophyto, which uses AI to enrich the soil, raises 4 million euros

To understand how technology helps farmers and horticulturists through Mycophyto, you must first understand the role of mycorrhizal fungi. “These soil bacteria act like an extension of a plant’s roots to extract additional nutrients from the soil. They multiply the exchange surface between the soil and the plant by 1000”popularizes Justine Lipuma, founder of Mycophyto and trained microbiologist.

Through her research, the doctoral student sought to increase crop productivity and reduce chemical inputs. “We have solutions in research labs, but they are not available to farmers. I wanted to provide them with an effective tool to help them make the transition without having to make the difficult choice between yield and environmental impact.” The founder recalls that both are essential to feed a growing population and protect resources and the environment.

An international database

Mycophyto aims to be inspired by nature, providing you with its technologies. Through molecular analysis and image analysis, the specialist seeks to understand the elements of the soil and identify the relevant species for the development of plants, in order to cultivate them to increase their representativeness. The powders or granules to be dispersed in the soil can gather up to 25 species of mycorrhizal fungi. “We have developed a biobank destined to be the largest in Europe in mycorrhizal fungus species.”

This database is based on start-up samples and microbiological data from soil sequencing carried out in France, Europe and the United States by various research programs.

AI listening to the ground

Artificial intelligence intervenes to predict the ideal cocktail of mushrooms according to the nature of the soil, in a system developed jointly with Inria. “From a GPS coordinate, we can identify the most suitable mushroom species without having to travel to collect a sample.” Mycophyto thus defined seven distinct geographical zones in France, excluding, however, exceptional microclimates or terroirs that require a specific mixture. “Once identified, we will culture the mushrooms to create the appropriate formulation.”

To make its predictions, the artificial intelligence relies on the climate, soil typology, soil physical chemistry and data collected in the database. The startup is working with other agrotech companies, such as Weenat, to quantify the impacts of different solutions. So Justine Lipuma is delighted that Mycophyto has been able to help retain 20% more water in a batch of vines than their neighbors who have not received formulations. “Artificial intelligence intervenes in machine learning to learn static data and dynamic data, such as weather conditions during a drought, and better predict what will happen in an area.”

change scale

With a raise of 4,155 million euros, Mycophyto intends to scale up to industrialize its solution but also multiply the data. Your goal is to reduce your production costs while multiplying quantities with mushroom crops in vertical farming.

For now, the start-up responds to the needs of around thirty customers in four major agricultural sectors: perfumed, aromatic and medicinal plants; commercial gardening, as well as fruit and vegetables; vine; and landscaping. With this capture and the consequent industrialization, Mycophyto hopes to be able to serve other sectors with a more accessible product. “We are also going to structure and accelerate the commercial dimension. We are starting to work internationally, mainly in Africa”, concludes the manager.

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