- BioLumic, an agricultural biotech startup, secures grant funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
- The grant aims to use BioLumic’s UV light seed treatment technology to enhance Direct Dry Seeded Rice (DDSR) performance.
- The technology addresses challenges like poor crop establishment and weed management in DDSR.
- The initiative targets the Indo Gangetic region of India, a significant rice-growing area.
- The project is set to run until mid-2026 and aims to have a global impact on food security and climate risk mitigation.
BioLumic™, an agricultural biotech startup, announced a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to utilize its proprietary ultraviolet (UV) light seed treatment technology for enhancing Direct Dry Seeded Rice (DDSR) crop performance. DDSR is a sustainable rice cultivation method that significantly reduces environmental impact and increases profitability.
Rice is a crucial staple for over half the world’s population and is primarily grown by smallholder farms. Traditional flooded rice cultivation methods have led to environmental and economic burdens, including groundwater depletion and methane emissions. Transitioning to DDSR can mitigate these issues but comes with challenges like poor crop establishment and increased weed management. BioLumic’s UV light technology aims to solve these problems by unlocking essential plant traits such as uniform seedling growth and drought tolerance.
BioLumic’s UV Light Signal Recipe™ platform uses targeted light spectrum exposure to regulate genetic expression in seeds and young plants. The technology has shown promising results, including increased plant resilience and potential double-digit yield gains. The treatment process is quick, taking only minutes, and is easily scalable.
The program focuses on the Indo Gangetic region of India, which supplies rice to over half a billion people. “BioLumic can help tip the scales in favor of sustainable rice cultivation with a global impact on food security, climate risk mitigation, and subsistence gains for smallholder farmers,” said Steve Sibulkin, CEO of BioLumic.
Timeline and Further Research:
The project will commence this year and continue through mid-2026. BioLumic’s technology is backed by two decades of scientific research and has shown potential for large yield gains in crops like corn and soybeans.
Image provided by BioLumic