UC Davis startup wins top prize at agtech showcase

September 12-14, 2016
St. Louis, Mo.

XTB Laboratories, founded by UC Davis' Cristina Davis, won the Ideas, Energized Award by Larta Institute, along with the grand prize of $10,000. As a co-sponsor of the Ag Innovation Showcase, the World Food Center also hosted Ag for Hire and AstRoNa Bio at the conference.

XTB Laboratories provides early detection and rapid response to citrus greening and other major diseases threatening U.S. agriculture. Cristina Davis, a professor in engineering, also received a prize for her startup earlier this year at the World Agritech Investment Summit,with the help of the World Food Center's sponsorship. In June, Davis was also one of the first recipients of the UC Davis Chancellor's Innovation Awards.

Ag for Hire came to life last year at the World Food Center's food hackathon, part of its Food, Ag and Health Solution Summit, and has since competed in the Thought for Food Challenge and the recent Apps for Ag Hackathon. AstRoNa Biotechnologies, meanwhile, has engineered a food safety detection device to help prevent new outbreaks of food poisoning. 

Also representing UC Davis at the conference, Associate Director Josette Lewis delivered a presentation on the need for bridging multiple interests for complex agtech solutions.

Fresh water, Lewis explained, is a fixed asset with competing demands among agriculture, urban, and environmental sectors. With California’s fifth year of drought, aquifer depletion in the Midwest, and agriculture’s impact on water quality rising concerns across the country suggest a case for new advances in irrigation technology and nutrient management.

Lewis shared insights from UC Davis and its contributions to the development of precision irrigation that illustrate the role of major universities to bring together diverse stakeholders to solve complex problems in food production and agriculture.

Top photo: Presenters at the 2015 Ag Innovation Showcase (Larta Institute)