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Start-Up Spotlight: Applied Quantum Energies
With the population growing at a rapid rate, it is important to find new and innovative methods to do more with less. At the same time, the movement toward food that is herbicide-, pesticide-, and GMO-free makes finding a way to feed everyone even more difficult. To address these issues, Applied Quantum Energies is developing a sustainable solution.
“One of the main objectives in agriculture production is increasing productivity,” says CEO Shefali Mehta. “This technology provides another tool in the toolkit.”
Health care entrepreneur Chuck Hallberg and plasma scientist George Paskalov launched Applied Quantum Energies (AQE) with a mission of improving seed health and overall plant health. The men found that their plasma technology could also be used to help farmers increase yields while, at the same time, lessening the impact on the environment. Their prototype has treated a variety of more than 20 crop species.
Mehta describes plasma as electrified air or ionized gas. When seeds are treated with this technology, they are placed in a chamber for about one minute.
This chamber creates an environment of gases that makes the seeds more hydrophilic, meaning they are able to absorb more water. It also sanitizes the outside layers, which results in a healthier and more robust seed.
AQE has seen an improvement in overall seed productivity when tested against untreated plants including a 10% increase in seed germination, 20% increase in seed vigor, and 50% increase in fruit production.
The start-up has equipment that allows it to treat steady volumes of small seed crops. Its prototype has treated more than 20 crop species. It is working to develop equipment that can process large seed crops in high volumes.
Currently, its focus is on ornamental grasses and flowers, hemp and marijuana, vegetables, and organics. Farmers are not the only ones who will benefit from this technology. It can be applied to food and vegetable sanitation, equipment sterilization, and emerging markets in health care.
Applied Quantum Energies recently participated in the PitchFest at AgTech Nexus. The event places emphasis on females in the ag tech industry. After more than 10 years of working in global agriculture, Mehta sees the importance of attracting many different people to the field.
“Women have always played a significant role in agriculture and that continues to increase,” she says. “We are a smaller part of the ag tech community, but we are growing and platforms like this allow us to have a voice and attract more people to this dynamic and complex field.”
About the Company
Company: Applied Quantum Energies
Founders: Chuck Hallberg and George Paskalov
Headquarters: Naples, Florida
Background: One of Applied Quantum Energies' main goals is to improve productivity. The company is doing this by treating seeds with a plasma technology that increases yield without the use of heat, chemicals, radiation, or genetic modification.