When Dr Jason Wargent started looking into what effect the degradation of the ozone layer was having on plant growth, he found that certain levels of ultraviolet (UV) light were actually beneficial.
This discovery led to the founding of BioLumic in 2012, a privately held start-up company based in Palmerston North focused on unlocking the unrivaled potential of UV light exposure for large growing concerns across the globe.
BioLumic’s science and technology is based on more than 15 years’ research into plant/UV interactions carried out by Dr Wargent, a world expert on the effects of light on plant growth and development who joined Massey University in 2010.
BioLumic works with large-scale producers to optimise targeted outcomes and economic returns. Fostered by BCC (Building Clever Companies), BioLumic has developed UV treatments and devices that have been trialled by commercial growers to boost crop yields and to control plant size and stress tolerance.
Trials have demonstrated increases in growth rates, disease tolerance and crop consistency, resulting in significant horticultural crop yield increases. Successful 2015 trials for one of California’s largest independent vegetable growers increased yields by an average of 10% and resulted in that company becoming BioLumic’s first paying customer.
“We’ve been able to show that customers get a significant return with a payback with BioLumic,” Chief Executive Warren Bebb says.
BioLumic has raised more than $3 million in funding, and has procured pilot customers in the United States, Mexico and Europe. At the same time the company keeps developing its science and technology to continue to be at the leading edge of UV application in the agricultural industry.