International agri-tech firm opens doors in Davis

By From page A1 | August 06, 2014

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Kathy Swords. Courtesy photo

A global agri-tech firm will establish its research headquarters in Davis this fall, joining Marrone Bio Innovations, Arcadia Biosciences and others to make Davis a burgeoning biotech hub.

Agrinos, a Norwegian-based firm that develops microbial fertilizers, expects to finish construction on its new East Davis research and development headquarters in October. Hiring of local leadership has yet to be finalized, but the city of Davis was chosen for its proximity to the university, said Kathy Swords, the vice president of research development and strategy.

“The decision by Agrinos to open a new research and development office and facility in Davis is yet another indication that our community is the center of global attention for the agricultural industry segment that creates and produces innovative biological solutions to food challenges,” said Kemble Pope, CEO of the Davis Chamber of Commerce.

Agrinos develops microbial communities that help plants absorb more nutrients through its roots. Healthier plants fight off infections or pests better, and can produce better yields.

“Improving plant health and vigor will have all kinds of downstream benefits,” Swords said.

The company has developed three primary products: High Yield Technologies A, B and C, which are certified organic and can be used separately or together. High Yield A contains naturally occurring microbes specializing in nutrient uptake, B contains 19 L-amino acids and C uses chitin to improve disease resistance and encourage growth.

The products are particularly useful for restoring microbial communities in strained ground, like soil that has suffered from drought or high agricultural use, Swords said.

She called Agrinos’ research a look into the agricultural equivalent of the human microbiome, the microorganisms inside the human body.

“We are excited to be joining the movement in Davis,” Swords said.

— Reach Elizabeth Case at [email protected] or 530-747-8052. Follow her on Twitter at @elizabeth_case

Elizabeth Case

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