Genesis of the startup
Smart plasma technology for a sustainable agriculture
AUXOWAY finds its origins in 2018 when Thierry DUFOUR and Christophe BAILLY, researchers at Sorbonne Université, have the idea to work on a common project bringing together their mutual expertise: cold plasma physics and seed biology.
Interdisciplinary research is achieved as part of their two laboratories:
The Plasma Physics Laboratory (LPP, UMR 7648): a structure that brings together about fifty permanent researchers whose field of study ranges from astrophysical plasmas to laboratory plasmas, from nuclear fusion plasmas to cold plasmas, from fundamental physics processes to industrial applications.
The Developmental Biology Laboratory (LBD, UMR 7622): a structure of the Paris-Seine Biology Institute (IBPS) which concentrates a large part of the biology research of Sorbonne University.
The LBD has 16 research teams including the « Seed Biology » team.
Meet the Team
Jonas August, Dr in Biophysics at Sorbonne Université, has a scientific and technical profile that has no equivalent in France, in particular concerning plasma processes dedicated to the improvement of germinative properties and seed decontamination.
As part of his thesis on the interface of plasma physics and seed biology, Jonas studied the action mechanisms of cold plasma on seeds placed in anhydrobiosis thus, answering fundamental questions and allowing to lift technological barriers for industrial transfer. He was
« Student Entrepreneur » within the PEPITE program (promotion 2021-2022).
CEO & Co-Founder
Chrisophe Bailly is co-founder and University Host Officer of Auxoway. He is professor of Plant Biology at Sorbonne Université where he leads the Seed Biology team at IBPS. He is internationally recognized for his works dealing with molecular mechanisms of germination, dormancy regulation, and the role of reactive species in seed dormancy regulation.
For years, Christophe has developed a very strong translational research activity for the seed industries in France and internationally. He is an expert in Research Tax Credit for the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, a member of the Pépite juries and a member of the steering committee of SmartFood Paris (Paris&Co).
Metrics: 80 articles, H index = 43, >200 conferences.
Thierry Dufour is co-founder and University Host Officer of Auxoway. He is a Senior Lecturer at Sorbonne Université and heads his researches in plasma physics at LPP laboratory. His R&D activities deal with non-thermal plasmas applied to Life Sciences, especially in agriculture, evolutionary biology and cancerology.
He has been PI of several pioneer and interdisciplinary projects, bringing together researchers from different backgrounds (physicists, biologists, clinicians, immunologists, chemists, …) with the aim to use cold plasma as a disruptive alternative to conventional approaches.
Metrics: 4 patents, H-index 20, 40 articles, 12 proceedings, > 100 conferences
Comparative Image of Conventional seedlings
Seedlings the Auxo way
Obtaining high yields in agricultural production starts with planting seeds that rapidly germinate in high percentages after a minimal delay while producing robust plants. AUXOWAY proposes cold plasma technology as a green alternative to conventional fertilizers in agriculture to improve yields, increase the size and robustness of plants, and reduce (or eliminate) the need for pesticides. Our plasma processes address also final products, treatments of food and its packaging.
Getting Behind Conventional Priming Processes
Maintaining seed quality is a major challenges routinely addressed through priming processes which consist of imbibing seeds at a controlled temperature and seed moisture content. This partial hydration is achieved to initiate the germination processes without completing it, so that once seeds are about to be sowed by end-users, they can germinate faster, more easily and uniformly.
Several types of priming processes are already worldwide utilized by seed companies, especially hydropriming (seeds soaked in water), osmopriming (seeds soaked in osmotic solutions like polyethene glycol, urea, KNO3) and halopriming (seeds soaked in salt solutions). All these techniques are engineered to improve seed germination performances as well as crop yields. Although all effective, these techniques face the same limitation which is their processing duration, typically ranging from ten to a hundred hours. Moreover, several technical steps like desiccation may be necessary, hence prolonging the process by several hours and requiring additional manpower and energy. Finally, these conventional approaches do not necessarily fit into the logic of sustainable development and their economic costs remain non-negligible.