Case Study

Corn Yield Improvement

University of Modena and Reggio Emilia & Corteva Agriscience utilized BeCrop® Technology to investigate how soil health and characteristics shape maize-microbiota interactions, drive hybrid seed performance, and enhance maize production. The experiment was located in the Po Valley, the main production area in Italy with different soil types in a fragile territory due to intensive conventional agriculture and climate change.

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The Solution

The project targeted 4 corn inbred lines, 5 locations per inbred line with 20 locations total. 5 sample replicates of bulk soil and 5 sample replicates of rhizosphere soil were taken. Samples were then shipped to Biome Makers for microbiota characterization through BeCrop® Technology.

The study identified significant differences in three main sampling macro-areas. Two of them shared similar microbiota, while one had significantly different clusters apart from the other two areas. It is suggested that there was an overall different microbiota in that area which ultimately was the one with the highest yield. The main difference could be from the different taxa abundance. Also, one location that recently switched from using conventional management practices to organic and integrative practices resulted in higher microbial biodiversity compared to other locations with conventional practices. Some taxa and species tend to be present or more abundant in low yield samples, and other specific taxa and species tend to be more abundant in medium-high yield samples.


The study was able to create a predictive model including genetic and environmental parameters with interactions in the soil microbiome. By using the analysis of seed genetics, soil microbiome, and environmental data, the model resulted in predicting 98% yield accuracy. The results from BeCrop® provided high agronomic importance of microbiome interactions to drive area, grower, and field selection for corn production.

The results highlighted the importance of promoting practices that maintain high levels of microbial biodiversity. Also, BeCrop® enabled stakeholders to guide product positioning by taking advantage of valuable microorganisms to promote optimal fertilizer input application, empowering producers to save money and reduce harmful environmental activity without decreasing agricultural production.

The project allowed the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia & Corteva to gain insights into the importance of the soil microorganisms network and crop yield to address reliable and sustainable corn production.

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