FREDERICTON, NEW BRUNSWICK — Chinova Bioworks has raised $6 million in Series A funding co-led by DSM Venturing and Rhapsody Venture Partners.

Chinova Bioworks has developed a natural preservative extracted from the stems of white button mushrooms that may be used in a variety of food and beverage applications. The company partners with mushroom farmers to collect the stems that would otherwise be discarded. The ingredient, Chiber, is vegan, kosher, halal and allergen-free and improves the quality, freshness and shelf life of products while reducing food waste, according to the company.

“The pandemic has accelerated the trend for food safety and health-focused products,'' said Natasha Dhayagude, co-founder and chief executive officer of Chinova Bioworks. “With this increased consumer awareness and scrutiny, brands are under pressure to keep up and reformulate their products to meet clean label demands. Departing from artificial preservatives is one of the most critical and challenging changes food producers must make. That’s where Chiber comes in since it is a natural clean label preservative found in mushrooms.”

The funding will be used to expand the team, launch new products and enhance production capabilities on Prince Edward Island. The company has raised a total of $10 million to date.

“Chinova has been crushing it for more than five years,” said Bernard Lupien, general partner for Rhapsody Venture Partners. “It’s been amazing to see how quickly Chinova has been able to add customers, making investing a no-brainer. Furthermore, Chinova’s planet-friendly process of upcycling the otherwise discarded stems of white button mushrooms to create Chiber is precisely what consumers are asking for.”

Rich Products Ventures also participated in the funding round.

“Chinova is easy to work with, and their guidance with Chiber sampling, product formulation and testing helped streamline the product development process,” said Alberto Roca, head of Latin America research and development for Rich Products Corp. “It was easy to switch to using Chiber as a natural preservative to garner the clean label benefits.”