SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwired - Jul 16, 2013) - Stevia First Corp. (OTCQB: STVF) ("Stevia First" or the "Company"), an early-stage agribusiness based in California's Central Valley growing region and focused on the industrial scale production of stevia, the all-natural zero-calorie sweetener that is rapidly transforming the food and beverage industry, is initiating a series of studies in field conditions that will verify that interrupting Stevia's photoperiod using brief overnight illumination will produce dramatic gains in stevia leaf and steviol glycoside yields.

Stevia First Corp. has begun studies to verify results that academic researchers produced under laboratory conditions and that describe dramatic gains in leaf biomass and steviol glycoside content. The researchers report that brief overnight illumination of stevia with red LED light can simulate long-day growth and prevent flowering, driving increases in leaf mass and steviol glycoside content. These results include a doubling of steviol glycosides within several weeks and extrapolate to a full year production increase offering more than a 5-fold gain in steviol glycosides. Stevia First scientists aim to verify these exceptional results and work towards developing feasible technologies that facilitate field-scale deployment of photoperiod-interrupting technology.

Stevia First Corp. is currently using California stevia leaf for several R&D projects. The leaf is being used as feedstock for novel fermentation processes, in order to validate modern stevia extraction and purification methods, and to obtain new plant genomic information. Fermentation-based stevia production methods may bypass or greatly diminish the need for stevia leaf production, which by some estimates accounts for 70% or more of the total costs of traditional stevia extract production. Through deployment of the Company's fermentation and agricultural technologies, Stevia First aims to create a sustainable domestic supply of great-tasting stevia products that is not dependent on overseas stevia plantations.

"The results where intermittent light has been used to spur dramatic gains in steviol glycoside content is a challenge too enticing to ignore," said Robert Brooke, CEO of Stevia First. "It is quite novel, and could represent a 'disruptive innovation' to our industry and other agricultural systems, so we're excited to take these steps towards verification and commercial translation."

About Stevia First Corp. (OTCQB: STVF)
Stevia First Corp. is seeking to establish a vertically-integrated enterprise in the U.S. that uses technological expertise in fermentation-based stevia production and improves upon traditional stevia farming and processing methods. Stevia First's U.S. operations are located in the heart of California's Central Valley, one of the world's most productive agricultural regions. For more information visit:

About the Stevia Industry
The market for all-natural, zero-calorie stevia sweeteners is expanding rapidly. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates stevia intake could eventually replace 20-30% of all dietary sweeteners. The total global sweetener market was estimated at $58.3 billion in 2010. For more information visit:

Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in Section 27(a) of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press release which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future. Such forward-looking statements include, among other things, projections of worldwide sales of stevia products, growth of stevia production and global markets. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others, the inherent uncertainties associated with new projects and development stage companies. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release, and we assume no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Although we believe that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance that any such beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions will prove to be accurate. Investors should consult all of the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in our annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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Investor Relations
Stevia First Corporation
Tel: +1- (530) 231-7800