- BioLumic has built a new system by integrating UV photobiology and engineering into UV treatment that increases crop yield.
- It also improves pest and disease resistance, and refines color and flavor profiles.
A New Zealand-based startup named BioLumic develops a UV treatment system that increases average crop yield by 26% in trials. These trials were conducted with largest lettuce growers in New Zealand and Australia. Initially, seeding were operated in the nursery and later planted outdoors. The astonishing improvements were seen at harvest, 8 weeks after the treatment.
These UV enhancement systems are applied to young plants and they are developed alongside growers. In order to improve the results and economic returns, the BioLumic works with wide-scale producers (like glasshouses). These systems are usually installed in a controlled surrounding.
It’s a completely environment-friendly treatment that not only triggers yield enhancement, but also improves pest and disease resistance, and refines color and flavor profiles. This is the first UV light enhancement system that offers a variety of solutions to big algal and horticultural producers.
UV Light Affects Plant Growth
BioLumic has built this technology by integrating UV photobiology and engineering into UV treatment systems. You might know that plants use blue and red light for photosynthesis. Today, we use numerous artificial lighting systems to improve plant productivity.
In fact, plants use light as a signaling system – to know their surroundings and adjust themselves accordingly for further growth and development. Artificial systems are used to target valuable outcomes.
Ultraviolet light is a unique form of radiation, which is more powerful than blue or red light. Exposure to this radiation can lead to different outcomes in plants and affiliated components like diseases and insect pests. Specifically, UV light can tweak plant growth, shelf life, cropping density, yield-limiting stress, color and taste.
UV light also triggers hardiness factors and increases healthy compaction of plant growth habits. The technology developed by BioLumic precisely targets such responses, escalating crop hardiness and performance while maintaining the quality.
According to the company, the patented system can induce insect feeding deterrence in seedlings and systemic plant resistance to key pathogens. Currently, they are working on this to make this system more effective for controlling various stages of algal growth cycles, driving biosynthesis of necessary algal products, and inducing metabolic protection against cellular stress.
Image credit: BioLumic
In March 2018, BioLumic raised a total of $5 million in Series A funding. The investment came from two big venture capital firms – Radicle and Finistere Ventures. Investors are seeking to find more sustainable approaches to fulfill the global demand of food productions and they think BioLumic has potential to provide better solutions.
BioLumic was initially focused on broccoli, tomato, strawberry and lettuce seeding, but now they plan to use the money to grow their research and commercialize UV-enhanced technology. Of course, this will require a bigger team in both New Zealand and their new office in California. They will also expand vegetable seeds in row crop in coming years.