Paeroa company AgriSea has been awarded a $74,000 grant to study the nutritional needs of bees.

The Callaghan Innovation grant will go towards research and development of AgriSea's bioactive products and the nutritional needs of honey bees.

AgriSea general manager Tane Bradley said the grant would continue to grow their research and development capabilities.

"To date there is limited scientific data around the nutritional needs of the honey bee so this is really important," he said.

AgriSea's organic products, which are derived from a unique fermentation process of a sustainably harvested species of native New Zealand seaweed (ecklonia radiata), are in-demand from customers in the dairy, horticulture, viticulture, apiculture, equine and dry stock industries.

"Our Bee Nutritional range is proving hugely popular with New Zealand commercial beekeepers," Bradley said.

"It contains all 10 of the essential amino acids along with a complex natural array of vitamins and minerals. We brew it with essential herbs for up to 90 days and provide it in an available form that can be easily consumed by honey bees."

Bradley said feedback from beekeepers and industry partners indicated that the products improved the health, disease resistance and honey production of the bee population. The grant would enable further product enhancement and enable scientists to gather data to prove its benefits.

Dr Mark Goodwin, the head of Plant & Food Research's bee unit, will lead the inquiry along with a team of scientists from University of Auckland.

Bradley said that AgriSea was really excited about the potential of this research.

Callaghan Innovation project grants are designed to help businesses break new ground or push the boundaries with research and development to uncover new scientific or technical knowledge. 

Businesses typically receive 40 per cent of eligible research and development costs. Total costs for the research project is expected to be around $195,000, and the $74,000 received includes GST.

Phil Anderson from Callaghan Innovation said: "New Zealand derives an increasing amount of money from bees and honey products so developing bee health solutions to improve the productivity of this sector has huge potential."

Waikato Times: http://bit.ly/2oSNQ0L