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NanoGuard Technologies, a St. Louis-based AgTech startup, whose proprietary High Voltage Atmospheric Cold Plasma (HVACP) non-thermally improves food safety and reduces food waste, has closed a ~$6.00M Series A round of financing led by the Yield Lab.
Fulcrum Global Capital, Maumee Ventures, the venture arm of the Andersons, Bunge Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Bunge Ltd., all joined the round. Kyle Welborn from the Yield Lab, John Peryam from Fulcrum, Scott Wernimont from the Andersons, and Nanda Kumar Puthucode from Bunge Ventures are joining the company’s board of directors.
According to Larry Clarke, NanoGuard’s CEO, “NanoGuard Technologies’ proprietary HVACP non-thermally treats food and feed surfaces to naturally enhance the safety and security of the world’s fragile food, feed and water resources more efficiently than current competing technologies by simultaneously reducing microorganisms and mycotoxins”.
“This technology will also provide growers, handlers and processors with a safe, effective, cost efficient and environmentally friendly tool to manage and reduce mycotoxins. Such mycotoxin reduction would thereby increase market value, reduce management costs for aflatoxin testing and measurement, all while providing a safer, higher quality product to their customers and consumers,” said Larry Clarke.
Reducing Food Waste
Founded in 2014, the NanoGuard Technologies’ represents a platform that can be applied across many markets including, grain, fresh produce, tree nuts, peanuts, meat, poultry, prepared foods and more. Cold plasma is a highly energized gas stream that is formed by exposing gas, such as air, to a high voltage.
This high voltage strips electrons from the gas molecules and forms Reactive Gas Species that have antimicrobial activity that can be used to reduce bacteria, yeast, molds and fungi found on food, and render mycotoxin on grain, peanuts and tree nuts non-toxic. Once the plasma is de-energized the reactive gas species return to their native state leaving no residue on the treated product.
NanoGuard has also recently been awarded a $600,000 SBIR phase II grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to harness cold plasma technology for reducing food and feed loss.
According to the press release, the commercial innovations inherent in the technology are:
- low variable cost with capabilities of treating large volumes
- exceptional capability to simultaneously reduce microorganisms and mycotoxins
- lack of impact on quality and taste profile of food and feed
- drop-in applications that are non-disruptive to customer’s current supply chain structures
“Food loss due to mycotoxin and microorganisms is a substantial issue in agriculture with few technologies out there able to really deal with the problem,” said Kyle Welborn, Managing Director at the Yield Lab and NanoGuard’s board chair. “With NanoGuard’s innovative technology, the company has the potential to drastically reduce food waste.”