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The History of Microbes in Agricultural Uses

Scientists and growers have been working for over 100 years to harness the power of nature for the benefit of agriculture. Over the past century, a variety of microbial-based products have begun to help growers around the globe meet the challenge of producing more with less, in a sustainable way. Monsanto BioAg is proud to continue this history of innovation.

See How We Got Here and What the Future Holds

  • 1886

    The nitrogen-fixing relationship between legumes and "germs" is discovered by German agricultural chemist Hermann Hellriegel.

  • 1888

    Dutch microbiologist, Martinus Beijerinck, first identifies a microorganism from the nodules of legumes, which he names Rhizobium leguminosarum.

  • 1895

    Noted bacteriologists Dr. Friedrich Nobbe and Dr. Lorenz Hiltner apply for a patent to inoculate seeds with cultivated bacteria.

  • 1905

    Based on that patent, The Nitragin Company begins production in the US.

  • 1975

    The Nitragin Company introduces Soil Implant for Soybeans, the company’s first granular peat product.

  • 1978


    TJ Technologies — future producer of QuickRoots® — begins operations.

  • 1985

    Nitragin Gold® 

    Nitragin Gold® for alfalfa is launched by The Nitragin Company.

  • 1986

    The Nitragin Company is sold to Liphatech.

  • 1990


    JumpStart®, the world's first phosphate-solubilizing inoculant, is introduced by Philom Bios, Inc.

  • 1994


    TagTeam®, the first combination phosphate and nitrogen inoculant, is offered by Philom Bios, Inc.

  • 1996


    Cell-Tech®, a liquid soybean inoculant, is introduced by Liphatech.

  • 2000


    Global biotechnology company Novozymes is formed.

  • 2004


    Optimize®, with LCO technology, is released for soybeans by The Nitragin Company.

  • 2007

    Novozymes acquires Philom Bios, Inc., adding JumpStart and TagTeam to its product portfolio.

  • 2010

    Novozymes acquires EMD/Merck Crop BioScience, making Novozymes a major player in microbial solutions for agriculture.

  • 2012

    TagTeam® LCO 

    TagTeam® LCO, a triple-action inoculant for legume crops, is introduced by Novozymes.

  • 2013

    Novozymes acquires TJ Technologies, further strengthening its position in microbial solutions.

  • 2014

    Monsanto BioAg 

    Monsanto BioAg is established.

  • 2014

    Through The BioAg Alliance, more than 170,000 field trials are conducted in the US.

  • 2015

    TagTeam® LCO XC Optimize® XC

    TagTeam® LCO XC and Optimize® XC formulations launched — the first products to result from the efforts of The BioAg Alliance.

  • 2016

    Acceleron® Seed Applied Solutions and Monsanto BioAg integrate our chemical and microbial product platforms into one division, now called Seed Applied Solutions.

  • 2017

    Acceleron® B-200 SAT Acceleron® B-300 SAT

    Microbial-based Acceleron® B-200 SAT and Acceleron® B-300 SAT are the first product launches since the formation of Seed Applied Solutions.

  • Today

    With more available products than any of its competitors, Monsanto BioAg is the market leader.

  • 2025

    The vision: Monsanto BioAg™ products will be used on 250M to 500M acres globally by 2025.

Learn more about Monsanto BioAg microbial solutions.

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