Launches trials of the Scanit autonomous airborne-pathogen detection sensor
FMC Corporation announced today that FMC Ventures, its venture capital arm, has invested in Scanit Technologies. Headquartered in Fremont, California, Scanit is the creator of the SporeCam™ instrument, a wireless sensor that proactively detects airborne pathogen spores before they can infect crops. FMC and Scanit will partner on analyzing Asian soybean rust in Brazil using the SporeCam™ instrument beginning in early 2021.
"Scouting for disease is mostly manual spore-trapping, predictive modeling, or NDVI imagery – reactive approaches where timeliness and reliability is a concern,” said Amar Singh, managing director of FMC Ventures. “Scanit's technology is unique in how it physically and autonomously measures spores. When combined with other parameters, Scanit holds the promise of alerting the grower before disease onset so they can better manage their fungicide sprays.”
Scanit's SporeCam™ instrument captures physical spores in the air, processes the spore data through machine learning and alerts growers when harmful disease spore count reaches certain benchmarks. FMC is in parallel expanding its precision agriculture solutions focused on comprehensive grower crop protection which requires a sophisticated collection of disease and pest pressure data. The goal of these combined efforts is to deploy highly accurate predictive modeling based on real-time data to help ensure the right crop protection products are applied precisely where and when they are needed to improve sustainability, optimize crop yield and enhance grower return on investment.
"At Scanit, we are driving a step-change improvement in disease prediction in agriculture,” said Glenn Wanke, chief commercial officer at Scanit Technologies. “In close partnership with growers, we are defining thresholds for pathogen alerts and providing dashboard data designed to maximize yields and reduce operating costs. By sensing and identifying spore activity, growers are able to prevent outbreak of disease.”
SporeCam™ instrument can be used both indoors and outdoors and provides spore data in addition to microclimate data including temperature, relative humidity, dew point and more, all at the farm level.
FMC Corporation will retain a minority stake in Scanit Technologies. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.