BioLumic and Gro Alliance Scale First UV Light Technology for Corn and Soybeans

Light Treatment Improves Crop Performance Without Genetic Modification or Increased Chemical Inputs Achieves Double-Digit Yield Increases, More Sustainable Outcomes for Farmers

Champaign, IL, (June 6, 2023) – Today BioLumic ™ and Gro Alliance LLC announced a strategic partnership to deploy BioLumic’s ultraviolet (UV) light seed treatment technology for corn and soybean seed production, propelling commercial-scale entry of UV light technology into the global row-crop seed industry.

The partnership will bring to farmers a new category of seed treatment with improved crop performance programmed into seeds with light, a proprietary technology pioneered by BioLumic. Based on 20 years of science and seven years of large-scale field validation, BioLumic’s light treatment technology unlocks the natural genetic potential of plants by regulating their genetic expression to improve yield, crop quality, root growth and plant resilience across specific cultivars.

BioLumic CEO Steve Sibulkin and Chief Science Officer Jason Wargent inspect an Illinois soybean trial plot

Since 2021, BioLumic has tested light-treated corn and soybeans seeds on more than 3,000 United States field plots, averaging yield increases of 15% in corn and 12% in soybeans.

“UV light signaling is the next frontier in plant science, changing the paradigm of crop production gains without solely relying on genetic modification, chemical inputs or time-intensive breeding programs,” said Steve Sibulkin, CEO of BioLumic. “Based on their longstanding record of rapid adoption of scalable innovation, partnering with Gro Alliance and their network of corn and soybean farmers and seed companies means we can rapidly deploy light-activated seeds that increase farmer profitability and contribute to a more sustainable global food production system.”

BioLumic’s UV Light Signal Recipe™ platform combines plant genetic insights, wide-ranging plant response data and a software and hardware platform that can deploy trillions of short duration ‘light recipes.’ BioLumic’s Light Recipes™ are a targeted, programmed sequence of light spectrum exposure which activate positive growth responses in seeds and young plants.

BioLumic’s Light Recipe “in-seed” treatment process takes just seconds to complete, does not impact other seed treatment applications or require farmers to change their growing practices and is completed in seed production facilities prior to shipment to seed dealers or growers.

Interview with BioLumic CEO Steve Sibulkin 11:40

North America’s Largest Contract Seed Production to Administer In-Seed Treatment

The partnership will deploy BioLumic’s light treatments platform in Gro Alliance’s corn and soybean seed production facilities. Gro Alliance is North America’s largest independently-owned contract corn and soybean seed producer, supplying seed production and breeding services for more than 100 different organizations around the world.

“We are excited to partner with BioLumic to bring this game-changing technology, which delivers a step-change in crop yields and quality, to market,” said Jim Schweigert, president of Gro Alliance. “This innovation enables farmers to improve their financial and environmental performance, helps seed companies deliver on their ESG goals and creates more climate-resilient crops.”

BioLumic founder and Chief Science Officer Jason Wargent, Ph.D. in front of a BioLumic light-treatment unit

Breakthrough in Strawberries Led to Broad-Acre Solutions in Corn, Soybeans

First developed for seedlings in large-scale specialty crops, such as lettuce, broccoli, strawberries and tomatoes, UV light treatment uses targeted photomorphogenic signaling, a scientifically-established natural growth response induced by a plant’s response to differences in the light spectrum.

“Discovering that the same technology activated seeds as well as seedlings was a ‘eureka’ moment,” said Jason Wargent, Ph.D., founder and Chief Science Officer at BioLumic. “It opened the door to broad-acre, commodity production of crops like soybean and corn benefiting from the same remarkable results of UV light treatment that we had developed for seedlings.”

The partnership will start at Gro Alliance’s Mt. Pulaski, Illinois production facility and expand across the Midwest starting in 2025. Later this year, select seed companies will be given access to BioLumic Light Treatments for their cultivars and the in-seed treatment will be commercially available to the broader market in 2024.

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About BioLumic:
Founded in 2013, BioLumic is a New Zealand and U.S.-based agricultural biotech company that programs plants and seeds with light to unlock growth, quality and health. The company’s Light Signal Recipe™ platform combines biological data, plant science, and genetic marker knowledge to mediate genetic expression with a one-time application of light signals. BioLumic’s Light Treatments are scalable and require no chemical application, genetic modification, facility expansion or large input costs. Programming Plants with Light. Contact us at or email to

About Gro Alliance:
Founded in 1941, Gro Alliance is North America’s largest independently owned contract seed corn and soybean seed production company. It provides GMO, non-GMO, organic, regulated, popcorn and soybean seed production as well as a full suite of seed corn and soybean nursery services for companies around the world. Its headquarters are in Cuba City, Wis. with additional seed corn operations in Howe, Ind. and soybean seed operations in Mount Pulaski Ill., Breckenridge, Minn. and Leland, Iowa. It has nursery operations in Chile through its joint venture, CIS Alliance. Learn more at

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Listen to or download interview with Steve Sibulkin, CEO, BioLumic
Interview with BioLumic CEO Steve Sibulkin 11:40

BioLumic CEO Steve Sibulkin and Chief Science Officer Jason Wargent inspect an Illinois soybean trial plot, validating beneficial crop outcomes induced by BioLumic’s proprietary light-signaling seed treatment technology. BioLumic announced today a partnership with Gro Alliance, North America’s largest independent corn and soybean contract producer, to bring the novel light signaling seed treatment process to the U.S. corn and soybean marketplace. Champaign, Illinois. June 6, 2023. (BioLumic Photo)

BioLumic founder and Chief Science Officer Jason Wargent, Ph.D. in front of a BioLumic light-treatment unit that uses a brief exposure to UV lights to induce natural, beneficial crop traits. BioLumic announced today a partnership bringing the company’s novel, light-signaling seed treatment technology to U.S. corn and soybean growers. Champaign, Illinois. June 6, 2023. (BioLumic Photo/Lottie Hedley)