EDINBURGH-based fungus specialist Rhizocore Technologies has secured £550,000 funding as the company mounts a push to boost sales of the pellets it developed to encourage the growth of trees.

The company said the funding will help it scale up production as it aims to support the planting of 40 million new trees across the UK every year amid the drive to net zero.

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Rhizocore’s pellets feature mycorrhizal fungi which help supply essential nutrients to trees through their roots and promote the heath of the soil on which they are grown.

“Mycorrhizal fungi are important agents in mediating the fertility, structure, and carbon storage potential of soil. In natural woodlands, young saplings rely almost exclusively on fungal nutrients to establish,” says Rhizocore on its website.

“In addition, when trees have the right complement of nutrients, their defences against pathogens - including fungal ones - is enhanced.”

HeraldScotland: Picture: Rhizocore TechnologiesPicture: Rhizocore Technologies

Rhizocore raised £370,000 equity funding from investors who have provided a big vote of confidence in its prospects.

The company was launched last year by plant health specialists Toby Parkes and David Satori, who developed their business idea with support from the University of Edinburgh’s Roslin Innovation Centre. The equity funding raised included £85,000 provided via the Edinburgh Technology Fund, which is managed by specialists at the university, and £85,000 from Deep Science Ventures.

Rhizocore won £130,000 backing from the Nucleus Capital operation, which says it supports purpose-driven founders, and £70,000 in total from other investors.

The company also secured around £180,000 grant funding from sources such as Scottish Edge and the Forestry Commission.

Rhizocore has seven employees.

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Mr Parkes has a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Bath and has worked as a researcher at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Mr Satori has a master’s in Plant and Fungal Taxonomy, Diversity and Conservation from Queen Mary University of London and RBG Kew. and has worked as a researcher at the gardens.