Zest Biotech Founder Nominated For World Technology Award

Nathan Balasingham, the founder of Zest Biotech, is an elected associate of the World Technology Network.

This gives him access to the most innovative scientists and technologists around the world.

Entry to the prestigious network follows Nathan being nominated for and selected in the individual biotechnology category for the World Technology Awards in 2013. He was one of only 25 selected for the category.

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The awards are judged by a panel of the network’s Fellows. The WTN Fellows judge and vote on all nominees in each of the categories associated with their field of expertise to determine finalists for each category.

WTN Fellows include people like Amory Lovins, a physicist, environmental scientist and writer; Bill McKibben, an environmentalist and author, Christina Smolke, associate professor of bioengineering at Stanford ChEM-H; Craig Venter, a geneticist who was first to transfect cell with genetic genome and the renowned Tesla Motors architect Elon Musk.

The awards are present to individuals and organisations that “represent outstanding innovators within the technology sector, conducting innovative and impactful work with the greatest likely long-term significance in the fields of science, technology & other related disciplines”.

Founder and Chairman of the World Technology Network James Clark said in a press release confirming Nathan’s selection: “The World Technology Awards programme is not only a very inspiring way to identify and honour the most innovative people and organisations in the technology world, but it also is a truly disciplined way for the WTN membership to identify those who will formally join them as part of our global community.

“By working to make useful connections among our members, we look forward to assisting Nathan Balasingham in continuing to help create our collective future and change our world.”

AN ENTREPRENEURIAL SCIENTIST

Mr Balasingham, who holds several patents in agricultural and bio food technology, has had a 40-year career as an entrepreneurial scientist and worked extensively for New Zealand’s kiwifruit industry. He invented the iconic fruit tonic Kiwi Crush (drunk by recuperating new mothers around the world) and more recently developed ‘phytogenic elicitors’ called Agrizest and Biozest.

AGRIZEST USED TO MANAGE PSA

 Agrizest is being used by several kiwifruit growers in New Zealand and Italy to help manage the effects of Psa (Pseudomonas syringae pv actinidiae), which has plagued the kiwifruit industry over the past few years.

Agrizest spray is not a pesticide or a fertiliser, but an elicitor that strengthens a plant’s defence and growth systems and enhances its ability to repair damaged cells. This in turn reduces the need for pesticides and chemical fertilisers in intensive farming and horticulture. 

BIOZEST USED TO IMPROVE PASTURES

Its sister product, Biozest, is a spray-on formula for grass, that is  used on many New Zealand farms to improve pasture productivity and palatability, improve environmental and soil stress tolerance and increase stock productivity and milk yields and stock quality. Data on the effect of Biozest on farm productivity is available.

INCREASING FARMERS’ PRODUCTIVITY

In his World Technology Summit speech, Mr Balasingham cited a United Nations report which said then globally 1.4 billion people are dependent on small-holder agriculture. “The report says that supporting those farmers to be more productive is one of the quickest ways to lift people out of poverty and sustainably nourish a growing global population. Large-scale farmers’ productivity also has a big impact on poverty and hunger. 

“For farm productivity to increase, farmers need technology to improve the tolerance of crops, pasture and livestock to pests, disease and also environmental stresses such as frost, drought, nutrient deficiencies and soil salinity.”