"About 75% of the world’s nutritional diversity depends on insect pollination in quantity and quality. However, the number of species and the insect population in the world is decreasing. Honeybees, the main insect pollinator, are facing Colony Collapse Disorder and are in short supply." That's why the team with Israeli agritech startup Edete has developed artificial pollination technology.
"We want to provide the world with a Plan B for the insect pollination challenge, using advanced technologies to provide artificial pollination as a service", the team with Edete explains their solution on their website. The company tries to solve the pollination deficiency challenge by developing and manufacturing efficient automated end-to-end pollination systems, providing optimised pollination services to growers.
The end-to-end artificial pollination service comprised of 2 steps that mirrors the action of honey bees – collecting and distributing pollen.
First, Edete mechanically harvests flowers, separates the pollen from the flower, then stores the viable and germinable pollen for more than one year using their proprietary method, overcoming the problem of desynchronization of different cultivars' blooms. Then they ensures fertilization and fruit setup by matching the best pollinizer with each commercial variety regardless of the timing of their bloom, guaranteeing, and even increasing, crop yield.
Then, during blooming, the stored pollen is loaded into Edete's proprietary artificial pollinator which disperses dry pollen on the trees. The 2B tm pollinator uses LIDAR sensing to algorithmically reach as near as required to each tree contour, and use electrostatic deposition onto the targeted flowers. Edete's 2B tm mechanical pollinator units can operate day and night, rapidly and thoroughly covering any open flower in its range and are not limited by daylight or low temperatures conditions.
Last year the company raised $3 million in seed stage funding. By now they constructed two pollen production facilities, one in Australia and one in Israel. The technique has been shown in almond orchards.
Larger commercial scale testing of Edete’s new system will continue in Israel and Australia. The company plans to begin a pilot program using the technology in 2022 in California, the world’s largest almond growing region. “We are initially focusing our efforts on almonds, but our game-changing technology has huge potential for a wide range of other crops as well,” said Eylam Ran, CEO and co-founder at Edete. The list of additional crops is long and includes apples, cherries, pears, blueberries, plums, cotton, rapeseed, and sunflowers, to name a few, the company shares with Seedworld.com.
"Edete’s service secures and increases the yield, solves pollination problems like flowering dis-synchronization of different varieties required for mutual pollination, bees dependency on favourable weather conditions, and will enable planting best cultivar only", they conclude.