‘Electronic nose’ for sniffing out spoiled potatoes wins World Agri-Tech Pitch Day 2019

A Cambridge-based start-up which uses sensors to detect contamination in agricultural produce has beat more than 100 rivals in an international competition to find the best agri-tech ideas.

Roboscientific uses an array of Volatile Organic Compounds that individually respond to the vapours producing a unique response pattern for each separate type of compound or mix of compounds.

Complex pattern recognition algorithms are then used to classify, identify, and quantify, the vapours or odours being sampled in a process not dissimilar to an electronic nose.

The technology is fast and reliable and is at the point of commercialisation for its automatic early disease detection system for growing broiler poultry and early alerts of spoilage in stored potato and onion crops.

Yesterday (Monday, October 14), the firm was named the winner of the 2019 Tesco Agri T-Jam on hosted in partnership with the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit.

The World Agri-Tech Pitch Day saw 10 exciting start-ups present their ideas for improving the food supply chain efficiency and sustainability.

Tesco’s Emmanuelle Lerges said: “We have to commend the high standard of the pitches and the different technologies that made it to the final, across a wide range of sectors.

It was very difficult to choose one winner, but in Roboscientific, we see a fantastic opportunity for long-term collaboration, from reducing antibiotics and waste to disease identification and food safety improvements.

“We look forward to working with Ben and the team at Roboscientific on trialling and developing technology through our supply chain.”

Ben Curtis, research development manager at Roboscientific said: “We’re elated. It’s been a great experience and we look forward to working together with Tesco and its partners to improve food wastage and animal welfare within the food supply chain.”

Roboscientific will now benefit from introductions to Tesco’s supply chain partners, as well as ongoing support from the Tesco Agriculture team, the value of which was shared in an update from last year’s winner, ImpactVision.

Roboscientific will also pitch to the full World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit as part of the start-up Technology Showcase on Wednesday (October 16), showcasing its solution to an audience of more than 500 international agribusiness leaders and investors.

The remaining nine finalists will also join the summit: Acris Biotechnology (UK); Biosystems Engineering (UK); BlakBear (UK); CCm Technologies (UK); Faromatics (Spain); Metronome Technologies (UK); N2 Applied (Norway); Proteon Pharmaceuticals (Poland); and Smartbell (UK).