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Crops can now 'tell' growers when they are stressed

Vivent, the Swiss biosignals analysis specialist, has closed a multi-million Euro Series A funding round. This first external investment from Astanor Ventures, will be used to expand sales of a unique plant electrophysiology system that diagnoses crop stress in real time.

All plants use internal electrical, mechanical and chemical signalling networks to coordinate growth, reproduction and defence – and Vivent is the first company in the world to launch a commercial crop health diagnostic system based on plant electrophysiology.

Electrical signals are some of the fastest to transmit information throughout a plant – from roots to shoots. Vivent’s crop diagnostics system, called ‘PhytlSigns’, uses AI to interpret signals linked to plant stress and diagnoses pathogens and pests prior to the appearance of any visible symptoms. Early diagnosis increases yields, improves crop protection effectiveness, and encourages adoption of environmentally preferable protection solutions.

“Growers are using PhytlSigns to monitor their crops in real-time. This additional information is improving their decision-making on climate control, irrigation and crop protection,” explains Carrol Plummer, founder and CEO.

“Thanks to low-cost powerful machine learning, we can give growers real-time information that results in safer, higher-quality and tastier food with less reliance on preventive spraying and more focus on environmentally preferable crop protection. We are very excited to be working with Astanor, a top deep-tech venture fund, with ambitions to enhance food quality, security and sustainability.”

Christina Ulardic, Partner at Astanor Ventures and new Vivent board member, explains that “Vivent is pioneering a new relationship with the crops we grow. It is remarkable to be able to see precisely how plants are responding to stressors in the environment and to learn how we can use these signals to provide treatments which improve plant husbandry.”

Vivent is already working with top global crop protection companies and growers in several countries to improve yields and product quality. Customers value early diagnosis of plant diseases, particularly those in roots, which are hard to identify using other methods.

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