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Canadian-based agtech startup Lucent BioScience is using a novel practice to supply plant nutrients to commercial crops. The process attaches nutrients to carbon-rich cellulose ag waste, and preliminary results show several economic and environmental benefits to the formulation
Gerald Reeves, Lucent Bio’s U.S. sales manager, says the company’s new product, Soileos, shows yield increases in corn and soybeans, boosts soil health and sequesters carbon, all with a 3-4% return on investment.
“We partner with food and grain processors to upcycle low-value cellulose fibers like oat, pea or lentil hulls into a delivery platform for important micronutrients, such as potassium, manganese, sulfur, iron, zinc, copper and boron,” Reeves says. “Our proprietary process alters the crop residue cellulose to enable it to directly bond covalently with the nutrients in a bioavailable form. The blended cellulose and micronutrient then goes through a process that increases the density and durability of the product so it can be used in standard agricultural practices.”
Soileos is a dry, granular product that can be broadcast, banded through an air system or incorporated through vertical tillage or strip-till. The product is available in blends for corn and soybeans, as well as other applications.
“Soileos is very stable and doesn’t leach when compared with sulfate-based fertilizers commonly in use today,” he says. “When our founders were exploring ways to create new crop nutrition products in 2019, we noticed micronutrients in particular were mostly using pre-World War II technology. That led them to realize there was a great…