(Rural Roots Canada) – Nanotechnology has long since moved out of the realm of science fiction. The practical applications of nanotechnology and its economic potential for many industries, including agriculture, are seemingly limitless. 

At the forefront of nanotechnology and agriculture stands Convergent Bio. Launched earlier this year by a group of scientists, engineers, agronomists, and market specialists, the company aims to explore nanotechnology and its potential in agriculture. 

Jason White is the Chief Innovation Officer at Convergent Bio. He admits he used to have doubts about nanotech. As a toxicologist, he had concerns nanotechnology was potentially disastrous. 

“I started hearing about nanomaterials and nanotoxicology years ago,he says.I’m a toxicologist, so I looked at it as the next emerging contaminant. They were being used everywhere, and my concern was about overexposure and risk.”

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He set up a research program on nanotoxicology to explore and understand the potentially negative impact of the materials. After more than five years in that space, he had done an about-face on nanotech. 

“Not only did we notice there were times when it was not toxic, but it also conveyed significant benefits to plants. So, this whole other kind of research grew spontaneously,says White. 

“The fact that you can use these materials – and most are already nutrients – we’re just using them in this nanoscale form where they are much more active and available and stimulate different reactions. You get all of these benefits with the plant. But, because you’re working with such small materials on a molecular level, you can use orders of magnitude lower ag inputs and get similar or even better responses from the crop. Then it goes for everything from micronutrients to phosphorus and nitrogen.”

From a regulatory perspective, attitudes towards this tech have changed considerably, and with some of the issues surrounding food security, regulatory hurdles are being removed

“Globally, it’s a generally recognized fact that we have significant problems with agriculture and food insecurity. Climate change is making it worse. We need novel solutions for how we grow, distribute, and grow food,says White.There are plenty of ways to use nanotechnology safely, sustainably and effectively, so there is a general recognition that this can work the way they want it to work.”

The company is in the process of closing its initial validation of funding. The next step is hiring staff followed by getting products to farmers by early 2025.

You can learn more about Convergent Bio, its mission, and its work by visiting the company’s website