The potential of the technology for seed treatment came out of the University’s participation in the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) programme, which supports university-business collaboration and looks at applications for technology in different industry sectors. It discovered a growing unmet need for sustainable seed treatments that delivered increased productivity and plant health.
To exploit this opportunity, Zayndu was formed in 2019, and Ralph Weir was brought in to head up the company as CEO and manage a bid to Innovate UK to develop a proof-of-concept.
The prototype proved successful and the company gained further funding of £1.1m in March 2021. It has secured the support of major seed companies in the industry and developed its first product, the Z10. It is now focussed on optimising the technology and the process, and on scaling up the machine to increase capacity.
Applications for the Zayndu Seed Health Treatment System
Imagine a process which boosts germination - not just accelerating it, but driving germination rates skywards. Imagine if that process improved the synchronisation of germination, so all your seeds germinated with a nice tight window - resulting in harvesting plants which are consistent in size and maturity. Now imagine if that system delivered healthier seeds, giving the power to resist pathogen attacks.
That is what the Zayndu system delivers. Seeds are "vitalized" with cold plasma. It improves their health, which ultimately yields to enhanced crop yield. Cold plasma is described as "the power of lightning" - it is in fact an incredibly low-power process which emulates the effect lightning has on air, creating conditions that are highly beneficial to seeds.
The use of cold plasma is gaining interest as a low energy, low carbon technology to replace the use of fossil fuels and chemicals in many areas of agriculture. Zayndu’s systems are at the forefront of the ‘Plasma Agriculture’ revolution.