"BioLumic attracts significant overseas funding" - stuff.co.nz

Palmerston North's BioLumic has been backed by $6.5 million worth of investments from around the world.

The biological company confirmed its new financial backing on Wednesday night and announced a plan to "aggressively" expand its staff at both its New Zealand and United States offices.

The contributions came from Finistere Ventures, Radicle Growth, Rabobank's recently-launched Food and Agri-Innovation Fund, along with New Zealand investors that have already contributed money.

BioLumic was started in 2012 by Massey University agriculture associate professor Jason Wargent. It uses ultraviolet light to treat seedlings because this can improve crop output and disease resistance.

Growers in the United Kingdom, United States and Mexico have had up to 22 per cent increases in crop output and there are further tests under way in the UK and Spain.

"Light is an extremely powerful biological tool that can safely manipulate plants without the concerns associated with genetic modification or chemical usage," chief executive Warren Bebb said.

"BioLumic is the only company using light as an ag treatment at the beginning of a plant's life. Exposure to a short-duration treatment of UV-enriched light at a critical stage in a plant's development turns on characteristics to help the seed or seedling more effectively defend itself against disease or pest attacks, and more efficiently use water and nutrients from the soil for its entire lifespan."

BioLumic's clients include major California-based salad growers.

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Bronwyn Rickard