The objectives of the study were to identify new opportunities in higher value-added fertilisers in order to assist a client in expanding its business. The clients wished to become more pro-active in new product development in proprietary high margin products. The company’s objectives for new products were to reduce nutrient leaching, to reduce the use of chemicals, to increase the efficiency of nutrient use, to revitalise damaged forests, to reduce the level of nitrogen in harvested crops, to save water. Opportunities had to fit with the objectives, be novel (preferably patented), sizeable (>$2 m per annum), not be bulk products, not be a single item, not have a long lead time, acquisitions must not be >£5 m, partnerships Areas of prime interest were plant nutrients in which new formulations and controlled release systems were high priority and microbial products, fertigation equipment, growth substrates.

The contents of the study included:

Fertilizer formulation and slow release mechanisms

Slow release nutrient charged zeolite applications

Tailor made surfactants for use in slow release systems

Controlled release through multiple emulsions

Starter & booster fertilization

Use of hydrogels in slow release

A new process for manufacturing urea granules

Production of fertilizers from industrial, municipal and agricultural waste

The use of microbes and microbial products as biofertilizers

Microbial degradation of turf thatch and black layer

Nitrogen fertilizer enhancement and other cytozyme products

Phosphate solubilizing fungus

Endomycorrhizal peat inoculants

Trichoderma based products as plant growth stimulators

Fertigation and irrigation equipment and systems

Fertigation sterilization by electro-chemical activation

Irrigation control through the measurement of leaf thickness

Fertigation control using a novel moisture sensing valve

Precision horticulture – development of fertilizer application software

Fertilizer application expert system

Controlled release fertiliser models

Polyethylene oxide uses in horticulture

Use of polyethylene oxide as a soil ameliorant in saline irrigation

A novel hydroponic substrate based on polyethylene oxide and perlite

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