BloomX’s innovative biomimetic pollination
Author: Barbara Espinoza
Magazine: AOA Chile y El Mundo December 29, 2023
In today’s agricultural landscape, where sustainability and efficiency have become key, Israeli company BloomX has taken a bold step into the future with revolutionary biomimetic pollination devices.
According to the expert’s data, it is estimated that more than 75% of crops depend on insects for pollination, however, some of the natural pollinators are in danger of extinction or even already extinct, which is why BloomX seeks to offer new pollination alternatives through artificial intelligence that bio-imitate the natural behavior of insects.
In this regard, the founder and CEO of BloomX, Thai Sade, tells us: “Our pollination is an attempt to address many of the problems we have today, those that we believe may worsen in the future, pointing out the scarcity of pollinating insects and the risks global warming represents for them. In addition, Sade added that although honey bees are commonly used for crop pollination, their generalist nature, their morphological traits and their dependence on climatic conditions during flowering make them ineffective for pollinating some crops.
In this context, BloomX comes with innovative pollination solutions, which it markets through Biobee Chile, partners of the Israeli startup in our country.
Among the available solutions we can highlight two specific tools for blueberry and avocado crops: Robee is a device with configurable mechanical arms that vibrate blueberry plants to generate “self-pollination”, imitating the behavior of bumblebees. Meanwhile, Crossbee is a device that, through a collector, extracts pollen from a variety of avocado trees electrostatically and then applies it to another variety bio-imitating cross-pollination, increasing yields and fruit quality in avocado trees.
“With Crossbee, both the distribution of pollen on the flowers and the pollen load on the stigma are improved, which allows increased yields and size in avocado crops” Explains Catalina Ferrera, technical manager of Biobee Chile.
A relevant aspect of both devices is their connection to software that, through a predictive algorithm, indicates the optimal moment to carry out pollination, maximizing fruit set. In addition, both devices have integrated GPS that allows monitoring of pollinated areas, data that can be checked through a control panel in a mobile application.
“Experience in several countries indicates that the use of these devices can increase yields between 10 and 40%. In addition, a favorable effect has been observed on the quality of the fruit with a decrease in small-sized fruits by up to 55% and an increase in larger-caliber fruits by up to 29%,” says Ferrera. “As Biobee Chile we are pleased to deliver to producers efficient and innovative technologies that contribute to optimizing production in a sustainable manner,” she adds.
In turn Thai Sade stated: “With Crossbee, both the distribution of pollen on the flowers and the pollen load on the stigma are improved, which allows increasing yields and sizes in avocado cultivation”
“With our solution, we aim to contribute to global food security and increase the ROI (return on investment) of producers while preserving the environment for future generations”.
So far, these technologies that have been fused with the deep understanding of natural processes have reached Israel, Peru, Colombia, South Africa and Mexico, leading the way towards a future where innovation and sustainability coexist to guarantee food security and preservation of the environment, therefore, they invite blueberry and avocado producers to try these products.
Robee: Imitating the buzz of bumblebees
This biomimetic pollination machine simulates the behavior of bumblebees, imitating the characteristic buzz that this insect produces when releasing pollen in the blueberry crop. Roobee’s configurable mechanical arms vibrate strategically, playing a crucial role in plant self-pollination. A key point of this technology is that it has a predictive algorithm that indicates the exact moment to carry out pollination, thus maximizing fruit set. In addition, the tools are integrated with a GPS and a control panel (from the mobile application) that help control and manage the pollination process.
Crossbee: Optimized cross-pollination
This device has been designed to bio-mimic cross-pollination in avocado trees. It uses electrostatic charge to extract pollen grains through a collector and then deposits the extracted pollen onto the stigmas of receptive flowers using a releaser. The adoption of this technology allows improving both yield and size in the cultivation of avocado.
Like Roobee, it also has specialized software to predict “the pollination window” and has GPS that provides precise control over the process which can be viewed through the control panel of the mobile application.