ST. LOUIS – Ag Innovation Showcase celebrated its 10th anniversary in September in St. Louis. Since its inaugural year in 2009, the annual event has featured innovations in the agricultural and food industries through presentations by industry leaders and promising early-stage companies.

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invent penn state
invent penn state

Licensing a technology created in the College of Agricultural Sciences, Penn State startup Phospholutions developed a soil-amendment product called RhizoSorb®. The product aims to reduce phosphorus runoff and enhance plant root depth, decreasing the amount of both water and fertilizer needed to have healthy plants.

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Over the past five years, the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program in the College of Agricultural Sciences has been transforming the way students and faculty members do research–moving great ideas and solutions from the lab to the market.

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invent penn state
invent penn state

Hunter Swisher does not come across as a “plant geek.” Rather, the 23-year old CEO of Phospholutions comes across as poised, engaging and wise beyond his years. His passion for his field, however, shines through immediately.

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Incubating ideas. Supporting small businesses. Meeting problems with innovation. Penn State is the single largest contributor to our state economy.

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invent penn state

Phospholutions, Swisher’s State College-based startup, manufactures RhizoSorb, a granular treatment that “emphasizes root production over shoot growth, acting as a natural growth regulator, to make shorter and more compact seedlings more likely to survive the transplant process,” the company explains on its website. “Roots exist to draw water and nutrients from the soil. RhizoSorb works by forcing roots to grow deeper through the soil in search of key nutrients. The deeper roots reach, the longer it takes for the soil to dry out, meaning more water is available to the plant in times of drought.”

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Penn State alumnus leverages the resources of Invent Penn State to turn plant science technology into a thriving startup.

As Penn State alumnus Hunter Swisher explains it, he had one primary goal when he enrolled at the University.

“I wanted to create my own job coming out of college,” the plant sciences graduate said. “My biggest motivation is simply that I wanted to work for myself.”

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invent penn state
invent penn state

Although temperatures were chilly outside on Sunday afternoon, local gardening professionals gathered in the Happy Valley Launchbox to celebrate spring and display their products to members of the community.

The event — billed as a “pop-up gardening show” — was hosted by Phospholutions, a soil amendment company that was founded by former Penn State student Hunter Swisher.

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ST. LOUIS – Ag Innovation Showcase celebrated its 10th anniversary in September in St. Louis. Since its inaugural year in 2009, the annual event has featured innovations in the agricultural and food industries through presentations by industry leaders and promising early-stage companies.

“I can’t believe it’s been 10 years,” said Sam Fiorello, chief operating officer of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.

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invent penn state
invent penn state

Innovation Park

Hunter Swisher does not come across as a “plant geek.” Rather, the 23-year old CEO of Phospholutions comes across as poised, engaging and wise beyond his years. His passion for his field, however, shines through immediately.

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PA Business Central

Phospholutions has commercialized a patented technology developed at Penn State to control the release of fertilizer over time, providing a cost- effective solution to reducing nutrient pollution. The product is used commercially in turf and ornamental production, agriculture and wastewater treatment.

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invent penn state
invent penn state

Big Idea Contest

The first place winner was Hunter Swisher with Phospholutions, a product that soaks up and controls the release of fertilizer in the turf and ornamental plant industries. Swisher won $25,000, seed grant funding worth $10,000 and consultation services.

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Golf Course Industry

“It’s unique because most people start in ag and prove there that their product works, and then there’s a side market for turf,” Swisher says. “We have actually taken the reverse approach because turf is more of a high-end application. That can help get me get going.”

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invent penn state
invent penn state

Invent Penn State

Phospholutions founder, Hunter Swisher, was one of the speakers who was part of a panel discussion Tuesday focused on Invent Penn State, research and fostering entrepreneurship and community partnerships.

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Small Business Development Center

The Penn State Small Business Development Center partners with the TechCelerator to accelerate the businesses and technology of the applicants…. At the end of the TechCelerator program, Phospholutions made their first sale to a golf course in Boca Raton, Florida.

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invent penn state
invent penn state

Turfnet.com

“We applied Rhizosorb to half of our Champion Bermuda nursery green after aerification,” … “We cut our irrigation run times down to stress the turf. The half with Rhizosorb had longer roots and displayed better drought resistance than the other half without the Rhizosorb.”

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State College.com

“Sure enough what he said was going to happen to the turf, it did,” Pagett said. “It doubled our root size which is phenomenal.”

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invent penn state
invent penn state

Penn State News

We are excited to work with Phospholutions,… This particular project can help our goal to become a golf course for the future — one that is sustainable, environmentally friendly, requires less inputs and ultimately reduces expenses.”

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Centre Daily Times

“The startup’s soil amendment reduces fertilizer use and aids in root growth.”

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invent penn state
invent penn state

Penn State

“I wanted to create my own job coming out of college,” Hunter, the plant sciences graduate said. “My biggest motivation is simply that I wanted to work for myself.”

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