Tom Brutnell and Todd Mockler, researchers at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, have launched an agricultural biotech start-up focused on improving intrinsic crop yield.
Benson Hill Biosystems, led by CEO Matt Crisp, a former venture capitalist, will focus on improving the photosynthetic efficiency of plants to make them produce more. “What we’re trying to do is increase the intrinsic yield. Simply, to make the plants grow better, bigger,” said Mockler, who said Benson Hill is focused on major crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and rice. “So its a fundamentally different approach” from companies like Monsanto and DuPont, whose work has focused on improvements to protect crops from bugs and drought.