Ultra-light weight formulations for agriculture

About Solution

The MBR Challenge aims to deliver sustainable solutions towards eliminating hunger through innovative approaches. We believe, one way of doing this is through empowering farming communities with efficient tools and practices. Further, to achieve higher impact, these reforms need to be targeted towards improving farm inputs, storage infrastructure and profitable market accessibility, with supportive policy environment from the Government.

We as a team, have a bold ambition to contribute to the farm input segment of agri-economy through our modest efforts. At FIB-SOL, our aim is to improve the efficiency of industrial materials by exploiting functional properties of nanofibers, in particular their huge surface area. The nano-architecture of materials significantly enhances the physicochemical behaviours, such as absorption, catalysis, sensing and degradation characteristics.

Farm-inputs is one such segment of industry, which can greatly benefit from an increase in efficiency. This sector manufactures agro-formulations such as fertilisers, pesticides and other biologicals. The major challenge for agriculture has been an indiscreet application of the chemical inputs that lead to environmental damage and particularly deprivation of soil health. These conditions bring down the farm yields and incomes. Thus, there has been a long standing need for creating input formulations that provide effective nutrition and protection in the most sustainable manner possible.

Focusing on agri-inputs, our team has successfully created and validated a nanofiber based platform for agri-inputs. Our first composition is an ultra-light weight, water soluble polymer membrane that embeds an ultra-high payload of natural actives such as bio-fertilisers, bio-pesticides and bio-stimulants. With its high surface area, our nanofiber membrane can hold 1000 times higher active payload than traditional carriers. For example, 5 gm of membrane can deploy bio-fertilisers equivalent to 5 kg of conventional formulation, and is sufficient to treat an acre of farm land. The bioactive is dispersed in water when the membrane is dissolved, and can be applied via both spraying and irrigation.

We have validated the formulations on multiple levels including in-lab tests and on-farm trials for crops such as cereal grains, pulses, vegetables, fruits and flowers. The innovative way of formulating actives on nanofibers enhanced farm yields by almost 30% with improved quality and health of crops.

Impact of our technology for stakeholders:

1. For Manufacturers: novel product opportunities (including very high value formulations, such as controlled release pheromones), substantially reduced distribution costs and lower Greenhouse emissions.

2. For Cultivators: Easy accessibility in remote areas, reduced input and application costs, enhanced yields & soil quality, ease of application on challenging terrain.

Need support for:

Our proprietary platform technology comprises 3 elements: i) Synthesis of polymer nanofibers, ii) entrapment of bioactives, and iii) formulations expertise.

Out of these, we are self sufficient and have conducted successful validation for ii) and iii). However, the synthesis of nanofibers on commercial scale involves deployment of high-end manufacturing infrastructure that is currently being developed by our team. This production line system, would help us scale our solution and deliver it to the market. The development efforts could be greatly enhanced by infusion of capital and technological network. We believe our needs to be directly aligned with goals of the MBR challenge and seek your support for the same.

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