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January 06, 2022 | Tom Ballard

UTRF licenses UTC-developed technology to S&J Nanochemicals

The University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) has executed a license agreement with S&J Nanochemicals, an agri-tech start-up based on technology developed at UT Chattanooga (UTC).

The technology was created by former UTC Professor Soubantika Palchoudhury, now at the University of Dayton, who co-founded S&J Nanochemicals with John Melnyczuk in mid-2020. The start-up also participated in the 2020 edition of the “AgLaunch Bootcamp” hosted by the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center and the Memphis-based AgLaunch organization.

As described in this article from a year ago, S&J Nanochemicals has developed a micronutrient-based, sustainable nanoparticle fertilizer applied to seeds during the pre-germination stage. This treatment results in enhanced plant growth of anywhere from 200 to 830 percent.

With the UTRF license, the start-up will validate the commercial potential of the product by working with industry partners. S&J Nanochemicals recently worked with an international firm specializing in agricultural products to test its technology in field trials. These field trials were made possible thanks to support from a 2021 UTRF Maturation Grant.

“We had very good results from the field trials,” Palchoudhury said. “Compared to other fertilizers and the control, our product performed much better which was good. It’s a new product, so these results show that it’s efficient on a practical scale.”

As we have noted in several articles describing various enhanced research and entrepreneurial initiatives at UTC and further highlighted by UTRF in this week’s announcement, the agreement underscores the value of those new, dynamic innovations coming out of UTC and the support infrastructure that exists within institution to help start-ups like S&J Nanochemicals thrive. An important player in those efforts is Jennifer Skjellum, Commercialization Counselor, who works with UTC’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship to promote, encourage and assist with intellectual property and research commercialization activities on campus.

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