Adelaide-based innovator, Bioconst is developing a second generation of fluorescent flower technology, aiming to create a world-first endogenously fluorescent flower for the $36bn global flower market.
Bioconst launched its first product, a spray-on product under the Galassia Flowers brand, in February and reports an overwhelming response from the market.
Professor Mark Tester, Vice President of Bioconst, says commercial applications include accessories and decorations for weddings, galas and corporate functions.
There has been significant interest from Asia, the US and Europe, and he anticipates the second generation product will heighten it as new products in the flower industry are rare and command a premium.
The current product makes flowers fluoresce after being sprayed with a fluorescent formulation and illuminated with a proprietary UV LED. The second generation product will eliminate the need for the spray formulation.
The work, supported by the State Government through BioSA, will be based at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Campus. Prof Tester and his team will use DNA technology to allow a flower to generate its own fluorescent protein, so that it will fluoresce when illuminated by the proprietary UV LED lighting.
“We have already laid the groundwork to maximise the success of this project. It has previously proved elusive to other companies but we believe we have found a way to generate a commercially viable fluorescent flower through a combination of good DNA manipulation and new UV LED technologies,” Prof Tester says.
The chrysanthemum will be the target flower initially but other major commercial species will also be developed including lilies and orchids.
Planned future products will include new illumination devices and different colours and patterns of fluorescence.
“The Waite Campus is a global centre of excellence that has attracted some of the best plant scientists in the world,” says BioSA chief executive, Dr Jurgen Michaelis.
“Bioconst is a great example of what happens when the right environment exists for entrepreneurs, ultimately companies like this will contribute to the growth of the State’s economy.”
Prof Tester is also Director of the Australian Plant Phenomics Facility, and a Professor at the Australian Centre for Plant and Functional Genomics (ACPFG) both based at the Waited Campus.
Updated 10 July 2012