Portable nutrient sensor wins start-up challenge
Start-up company Nordetect has won Priva’s Horti Heroes Challenge for their portable nutrient sensor, which is said to measure nutrients in soil, water or plant tissue within minutes.
Using the information from this device, a greenhouse grower can ensure that appropriate amounts of fertilizers are being taken up by the plant to maximize quality and yield, while reducing the amount going down the drain.
Led by Priva’s Horticulture Innovation Lab (Phil), this competition was designed to discover and help showcase pioneering technologies in the horticulture space by awarding a cash prize, and providing the winner with the potential opportunity to form a strategic partnership with Priva, a global developer of high-tech solutions for climate control and process automation.
“Wait, did he say we won? I was awestruck!” recalled Nordetect CEO, Keenan Pinto, upon hearing the news. “Of course the prize money is great, but what is of even more value is the potential for a strategic partnership with Priva, who is the market leader in the high-value crop space — our target market. Lately Priva has been making waves in the medicinal crop industry. These are crops that have a nutrient requirement change between their vegetative and generative phases… and if you can get the fertilization correct, you can also achieve a significantly higher flower rate and yield. So we see this potential partnership as not only a win for us, but also for Priva and its clientele.”
While Priva’s Horticulture Innovation Lab was founded as an internal start-up to explore and develop cutting-edge solutions in horticulture with a focus on AI and machine learning, part of its mandate is to engage industry trailblazers to form collaborative relationships through its “Friends of Phil” program and is in part the genesis of their participation in the Horti Heroes Challenge.
“There was some stiff competition, but Nordetect’s technology is a real game-changer,” said Alastair Monk, Priva’s VP Digital Services – Horticulture who heads the Phil group. “Greenhouse growing is all about precision, and having accurate metrics at your fingertips when they are needed is crucial for success. Nordetect achieves in minutes what greenhouses today wait weeks for by relying on lab testing. In the end, the decision was obvious, and we couldn’t be happier to be working with Nordetect.”
Based out of Denmark with an office in the United States, Nordetect is a biochemical analytics company that develops lab-on-a-chip systems for optimization and traceability in the AgriFood industry. The company notes that the detector is not available for Canadian distribution at this time.