Thursday, June 13, 2024

BGN Technologies and Oazis Accelerator Establish DOTS, Developer of a Revolutionary Soil Nitrate Monitoring System for Agricultural Use

BGN Technologies, the technology transfer company of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), announced the establishment of DOTS, developer of a new nitrate monitoring system for continuous real-time monitoring of nitrate levels in the soil for agricultural use. DOTS has secured seed funding in a round led by Labs/02 incubator, a joint venture of OurCrowd, Israel’s largest investment platform, and Reliance Industries, an Indian multinational conglomerate, and the Israeli Innovation Authority.

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“Following the elaborate due diligence of the Labs/02 team, we see this seed round as a vote of confidence from leading investors in our team, technology, and business plans,” said Rafi Levi, CEO of DOTS. “Current methods for measuring soil nitrate levels are cumbersome estimations, highly expensive or labor-intensive, and do not provide affordable continuous real-time indication of the actual concentration of nutrients in the soil. Our new technology, which enables real-time monitoring of soil nitrate levels, can supply farmers with valuable data on nutrient availability for their crops. Our solution enables optimization of fertilizer application thus greatly cutting farmers’ expenses by preventing over-fertilization, as well as substantially reducing water resource pollution.”

Moshe Raines, General Partner at OurCrowd and CEO of Labs/02 said, “We are honored to lead the seed round for DOTS. We have been impressed by the DOTS team, their accomplishments, and unique vision, which eventually will make the world a better place to live in. We believe that DOTS’s breakthrough technology is a game-changer in precision agriculture and will significantly improve the way we are dealing with soil pollution.”

The technology, developed by Prof. Ofer Dahan of the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research (ZIWR), Prof. Shlomi Arnon of the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, and Elad Yeshno, PhD student at ZIWR, all from BGU, relies on an electro-optical nitrate sensor that is based on absorption spectroscopy. The sensor enables continuous, real-time measurement of nitrates in the soil pore-water and is highly resistant to harsh chemical and physical soil conditions. It can detect nitrate concentrations in the range of tens to hundreds of parts per million (ppm), which is the range relevant for growing crops. Its ability to continuously monitor soil nitrate levels produces a highly detailed portrait of the rapidly changing concentrations of nitrate in the soil.

Natural nitrate levels in groundwater are generally very low. However, excess application of fertilizers in agriculture often results in nitrates leaching from the soil into water resources. Increased level of nitrates in water is one of the main reasons for drinking water contamination, causing a worldwide environmental environmental environmental problem.

Shirley Sheffer Hoffman, Senior VP Business Development Climate Tech at BGN Technologies, commented, “We are very proud that what began as a multi-disciplinary collaboration research project at the University a few years ago, has now matured into a promising deep-tech startup company that has successfully raised initial capital and has also received recognition from the Israel Innovation Authority.”

DOTS grew in the Oazis Venture Builder and Accelerator, a unique program matching deep-technology research with experienced business entrepreneurs and bridging the gap between academia and industry with a product-oriented acceleration. Oazis was established at BGU’s entrepreneurship center Yazamut360 and has already grown 11 successful ventures.

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