Seed World

Introducing our Top Innovative Products of 2023 WINNERS – Part 1

Insignum AgTech

Insignum AgTech develops plant genetic traits that enable plants to ‘speak’. The technology allows plants to signal via naturally occurring pigments when they are undergoing stress. The company has developed a new trait that works across corn cultivars that results in plants developing purple spots on their leaves when fungal attack is underway. The spots are visible (left photo below) approximately one week before disease lesions typically appear (right photo below).


“Today, farmers make a lot of decisions blind. But agriculture has to be preventative: we can’t wait until a problem shows up to do something about it. With this technology, we can be absolutely certain that we have an issue, then treat before the damage is done to sustainably optimize production,” says Insignum’s CEO and founder, Kyle Mohler, PhD.

While the technology is not yet market-ready, it’s well on its way. This year, Insignum worked with Beck’s Hybrids testing commercial genetics. A successful first trial has led to plans for additional testing in 2024. In November 2023, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) ruled in favor of the technology, judging it as unlikely to pose an increased plant pest risk compared to other cultivated plants, and therefore safe to grow and breed in the U.S. without additional regulation.  

Mohler says the company is currently working on developing markers for additional stresses utilizing other natural pigments, likely red or blue, to give an early indication of yield-limiting factors such as insect pests or fertility loss.

SORTEX H SpectraVision by Bühler Group

Bühler’s SORTEX H SpectraVision is an optical sorter designed to address the challenges faced in seed production. In response to issues such as higher raw material costs, climate change and mycotoxin contamination, Bühler reimagined the capabilities of an optical sorter. After extensive research and development, they successfully created an AI engine called Merlin AI that allows the Sortex H to self-adjust, minimizing the potential for human error, and allowing the user to run the machine intervention-free.

Additionally, Bühler devised a new algorithm that dramatically increases the accept ratio and defect concentration, surpassing their previous models and competitors. This innovation significantly improves seed quality and reduces waste in the production process. The Sortex H increases germination by removing damaged and diseased seeds, as well as cross-contamination and foreign seeds.


SpectraVision’s effective identification and removal of defects enhances the overall quality of the seed processing industry, contributing to improved germination, crop production and consumer satisfaction, according to the company.

“With the Merlin AI sorting engine, we have managed to achieve an additional 50 percent reduction in yield losses compared to previous solutions,” says David Kinsella, head of R&D Digital Technologies for Bühler Group. “This means less waste and a minimized footprint for processors, which is much better for the planet.”  

In-Seed UV Light Treatment by BioLumic

BioLumic’s Light Treatments — a unique category of chemical-free seed treatment exclusively commercialized by BioLumic — utilize light as a sort of programming language to regulate crops’ genetic expression and activate new traits. Photomorphogenic treatments “program plants’” genetic expression through brief seed exposure, unlocking their natural genetic potential. BioLumic has validated over 200 activated traits across 12 crops for improved yield, accelerated germination, enhanced root development, improved plant immunity, resilience to extreme conditions, and more. BioLumic’s platform can deploy 2.5 billion unique, customized UV light signal recipes. 

In 2023, BioLumic initiated collaborations with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for sustainable rice and Dry Direct Seeded Rice (DSR), as well as Gro Alliance for corn and soybeans. Additionally, they launched a program for Light Treated Forage grass, with treatments that improve grass composition (e.g., crude fat) to reduce methane emissions and enhance metabolic efficiency.


“The core of BioLumic’s innovation lies in its ability to harness, for the very first time, precise plant signaling treatments using the potent UVB light spectrum, a biological catalyst of unparalleled strength,” said Steve Sibulkin, BioLumic’s CEO, who added “the large gains we’re seeing in yield and quality are not only transformative, they do not have the regulatory concerns and longer timeframes of other key crop performance innovations.”

The in-seed light treatment process is rapid, cost-effective, and seamlessly integrates with existing seed treatment applications. It requires no change to farmers’ established practices and can be efficiently completed in seed production facilities before shipment.


Precise and timely detasseling – the removal of the tassels from all corn plants of one variety – results in a more physically uniform batch, increased yield, and higher genetic purity. However, the detasseling process is labor-intensive and expensive. 

Proofminder leverages images captured by drones via its AI model to accurately identify missed tassels and provide their exact GPS coordinates via a Google Earth file. These files can provide helpful insights for agronomists, seed production managers, as well as manual detasseling crews to prioritize areas with missed tassels. This reduces labor and time costs, increase yield, is environmentally friendly and sustainable, and is seamlessly scaled to thousands of hectares of land. 

Other Proofminder models can be deployed in sunflower and other seed crops to support increased purity, identify weeds, reduce crop inputs, estimate yield, and more. 


“It all starts with seeds, and we know how important and challenging it is for seed growers to produce quality seeds and stay reliable suppliers,” says Ambrus Vancso, Proofminder’s cofounder and CEO. “Proofminder enables plant level agronomy leveraging high resolution imagery …and its unique Al algorithms to achieve production goals sustainably.”

“Time-sensitive reports on every square cm of the field – that is what we provide…. Deployed on multiple continents and diverse seed production sites, our solutions can be adapted to meet local needs.”