Hebei Lansheng Biotech Co., Ltd. ShangHai Yuelian Biotech Co., Ltd.

Insignum AgTech founder Kyle Mohler on colorful new technology to fight corn diseaseqrcode

Jan. 3, 2024

Favorites Print
Jan. 3, 2024

Wouldn’t it be easier if corn crops and other plants could tell just you if they’re fighting a fungal infection or facing other stresses? There’s a company based in Indiana that’s developing some exciting new technology that does just that!

″From my perspective, I said we have to be able to listen from the plants’ perspective and we have to give them the tools to tell us what they need,″ says Kyle Mohler, the Founder and CEO of Insignum AgTech, which is based in Hamilton County just north of Indianapolis.


Insignum AgTech CEO Kyle Mohler (right) speaks with farmers about the company’s corn plants during its summer 2023 field day. These plants use naturally occurring pigment to signal when specific plant stresses begin. (Insignum AgTech photo/Chalais Randle Photography)

Mohler is a graduate of Purdue University’s College of Agriculture and earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry.

His company has developed a way for the corn plant to turn purple to let you know that there may be early signs of fungal pressure.

The tool takes a naturally-occurring pigment in a plant—which is purple in corn—and allows the plant to change to that color whenever it feels a fungal infection.

″It fits very well into this concept around Precision Agriculture and around trying to use different pieces of tools to detect the crop disease becauseit’s a really tough problem to solve.″

Mohler says this new way of watching for fungi can work even before the plant begins showing symptoms.

″It’s really simple and straightforward to tell,″ according to Mohler. ″It’s not an expensive camera that you have to buy. It’s not an algorithm that makes predictions. It’s real and true and you can see it with your own eyes because your plants are telling you. They’re turning color to signal that early infection.″


Insignum AgTech develops plant genetic traits that give farmers an early indication of yield-limiting factors like disease, insect pests or fertility loss. Insignum AgTech and Beck’s Hybrids have signed an agreement to test Insignum’s innovative corn traits in Beck’s elite varieties. (Insignum AgTech photo)

Back in November, the USDA gave the green light to run trials on those corn plants developed by Insignum Ag Tech.

″Whether that’s in test plots or in breeding stations, we’re really happy that that the USDA saw that our technology is safe and just like a normal breeding process,″ he says.

Insignum AgTech has been working with Beck’s Hybrids this year to test these new corn traits at Beck’s facility in Atlanta, Indiana.

Mohler says he plans to expand this new technology into other crops like soybeans and canola. The company will also develop additional plant traits that use other natural pigments, like red or blue, to give an early indication of yield-limiting factors such as insect pests or fertility loss.

Ultimately, Mohler says he wants to give producers another way of staying ahead of damaging diseases.

″When I started talking to farmers about this concept, they said their question was not which disease I have, it’s do we need to spray or not. We designed this technology so that it reacts to every single fungal disease and specifically only the fungal diseases.″

The next step in Mohler’s research after the USDA decision is testing what happens to the color after fungicide applications—if it goes away, or if new growth will replace previously infected parts.


More from AgroNewsChange

Hot Topic More

Subscribe Comment


Subscribe Email: *
Mobile Number:  





Subscribe AgroNews Daily Alert to send news related to your mailbox