IRELAND – MicroGen Biotech, an agritech company based in Carlow, Ireland, has raised US$3.8 million in a Series A funding round from US and European Agtech investors to improve soil health and food safety globally.
Founded in 2012 at Carlow Institute of Technology, Ireland, by molecular biologist Dr. Xuemei Germaine, MicroGen Biotech has developed a patented solution to reduce heavy metal in food, increase soil health to enhance crop yields and clean soil pollution in industrial sites.
The company explains that its microbiome technology blocks the uptake of heavy metals by crops to improve food safety.
Heavy metal content in foods has emerged as a global issue, caused by industrial pollution, and crop inputs. The heavy metal residues are taken up by food crops from the soil, concentrate them in food reserves, which then gradually accumulate in the human body upon consumption of these foods.
MicroGen Biotech, which has a subsidiary company in Shandong Province, China, says that in China, 19.4% of arable land contains pollutants. This led to the rolling out of China’s “safe food and clean soil” program targeting heavy metal reduction.
The Irish company revealed that it has already successfully registered two products with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture following extensive field trials, covering 20,000 acres, and is rolling out its products nationwide.
MicroGen Biotech has further established a partnership with a US agricultural input company to develop a low-arsenic rice solution for North America.
The company sees its patented EcoPiling technology as one with a huge opportunity in soil remediation as it breaks down coal and oil residues more effectively than other remediation approaches.
The technology was successfully applied at Ireland’s largest bioremediation project to remove oil pollution, successfully remediated oil polluted soil in China’s second largest oilfield and recognised by the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China.
Dr. Germaine said that the company will use the funds to expand its presence in North America and Europe. “This funding is critical in executing our vision across North America and Europe.”
“We are now in a position to strengthen our team, expand production, and invest in new technology and product development.”
The funding was led by Fulcrum Global Capital with participation from The Yield Lab Europe. As part of the investment, Bill Buckner, former CEO of Bayer CropScience USA will join MicroGen’s advisory board.
“MicroGen Biotech has developed a technology to make our food healthy and safe, and to restore the health of polluted soils,” remarked Nicky Deasy. Duane Cantrell regards MicroGen as “an exceptional company who is pushing the boundaries of AgTech advancements and make safe food available.”