Science/Tech

$10M Raised By Equinom For Non-GMO Seed Breeding

GMO Potatoes
Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi sides with agribusiness when it comes to genetically engineered crops. Screen shot via Comedy Central

According to a new report, Israeli-based startup Equinom just recently raised around $10 million in a Series B round of funding from  Fortissimo Capital, BASF Venture Capital, Roquette and Tradelines Group. Per the company, the funding will be used to further their work on non-GMO seed breeding technology, which the company said is made in order to produce what are essentially “smarter seeds.”

Initially started back in 2012, the company has been in the business of creating non-GMO seed varieties that are engineered to have super traits such as nutritional profiles that are significantly better.

“Equinom’s breeding program designs super-trait seeds on demand. The system determines the varieties and breeding generations needed to obtain the plant seeds defined by food companies. Equinom then breeds the plants naturally and conducts global growing trials to confirm seed viability in multiple cultivation locations,”  the company said.

At the moment, the company is reportedly working on creating seeds that are more nutritious and have higher protein and oil content. To do this, the company works with natural genetic variation, combining traditional crossbreeding and computational genetic algorithms to accomplish this and making sure to not fall into GMO territory. Additionally, it has also accelerated seed breeding for faster production. Moving forward, the company revealed that it already chose a supplier for sesame seeds.

“We also plan to launch our high-protein pea variety in 2021. Equinom will continue working with plant-based food ingredients and food companies to help create tasty, 'cleaner' plant-based applications. We already have clients producing products with our smart grains, which provide higher quality, improved nutritional values and lower production costs,” Equinom CEO Gil Shalev said.

Furthermore, the company also stated that it’s now working on two parallel seed breeding tracks.

“First, the company has developed high-yield, shatter-resistant sesame, and has become the world's largest provider – with farms in the USA, Australia and Europe. Concurrently, Equinom is breeding super trait plant protein – sustainable, reliable and healthy legumes for alternative proteins, relying only on what nature has provided,” the company said in a release.

While initially fruitful, people started shying away from GMOs in fear of unknown long-term impact and effects.

GMO Potatoes Daily Show correspondent Aasif Mandvi sides with agribusiness when it comes to genetically engineered crops. Screen shot via Comedy Central

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