Agricultural Management, Optimized

At Trace Genomics, we incorporate the power of cutting-edge DNA sequencing technology, called metagenomics, into making optimal agricultural management recommendations. Other companies only look at “fingerprint” genes, providing a limited and generalized view of microbes and nutrients. This commonly leads to inconclusive findings and recommendations. However, our innovative metagenome sequencing technique goes beyond this superficial approach, providing a unique, complete picture of the microorganisms that live in your soil. As a result, you are given insights into your entire soil microbiome, which is critical for understanding the health of your soil, and the functional capabilities of its microbes.

Where Chemistry and Biology Merge

A teaspoon of soil can contain up to a billion microbes. Each may play an essential role in your soil ecosystem, including nutrient cycling, the breakdown of organic matter, disease suppression and water retention. Our exclusive metagenomics approach is the only proven technique to accurately measure the entire soil microbiome and provide optimized recommendations to improve crop yield and soil sustainability.

No other company incorporates chemistry and biology into such in-depth nutrient management recommendations. At Trace Genomics, we provide the most comprehensive soil analysis on the market, bringing nutrient management into the future.

Soil Science

We engage in hi-definition DNA sequencing down to the functional gene level.  This lets us mine the soil microbiome to identify specific functions, commonly referred to as “indicators,” which can provide actionable insights to help you maximize soil health. One example is a phosphorus solubilization indicator, which analyzes the quantified capability of microbes in the soil to release bound phosphate and make it plant available.

We tap into our industry-groundbreaking soils database, providing deep insights into mapping the treatments and inputs, management practices and cropping systems and how they impact and/or shift the soil functions. We have also perfected a patented slurry method that improves the consistency and accuracy of our samples for chemistry measurements compared to traditional dry-and-grind techniques.

Hi-Definition Genome Sequencing

Complete DNA sequencing has traditionally been cost-prohibitive for practical applications in agriculture. Until now. We’ve pioneered the use of metagenomics—the sequencing of all the DNA in a soil sample to prove the most complete understanding of your microorganisms present—in a way that’s accurate, affordable, and with a significantly faster turnaround time.

Our technique is also significantly better at differentiating between closely related pathogens.


Contextual Data & Machine Learning

Our soil analyses are benchmarked against our unmatched, industry-leading database, providing context and driving actionability. By comparing sample-specific soil microbes and nutrients to those across the breadth of our database, we are able to develop unique insights based on biological soil testing across diverse soils. For example, certain soil physicochemical characteristics influence the abundance and distribution of soil microbes. We then integrate the defined soil biology with chemistry measurements to track changes over time regarding the impact of management practices on the soil microbiome and other soil physicochemical parameters. The contextual data is pivotal in supporting the performance of cropping systems in a sustainable manner.

Machine Learning

Ames Innovation Center

Our innovation center in Ames, Iowa, has been a leading, commercialized soil R&D facility for 10 years. It is home to our best-in-class soil chemistry, carbon analysis, high-speed DNA sequencing, bioinformatics and machine learning capabilities.

Powered by TESS™

When soil samples arrive in our lab in Ames, Iowa, they are analyzed by our revolutionary TESS (Trace Environment Soil System) engine. This science-driven engine quickly and completely digitizes and decodes soil biology. We start with our TraceCHEM™ diagnostic program to provide a complete chemical analysis of soil fertility. TESS then extracts and sequences all the DNA from the soil using state-of-the-art Illumina® sequencers. Finally, TESS filters its findings with our unmatched soil sample database, incorporating proprietary data science, algorithms, and processes to decode DNA sequences into meaningful, actionable information.

Although TESS allows us to go beyond competitive soil system analytics, we are committed to continuing to make our engine even more powerful and agile. Our goal is to maximize our understanding of regional trends in the soil microbiome to further improve our benchmarking and action recommendations. In addition to agronomic services, TESS can also offer measurements for broader uses of soil biology, such as remediation of contaminated soils, detecting pathogens that are relevant for human and animal health, and developing soil-based carbon sequestration.