Healthy Hydroponics Innotech launches genomics-based pathogen monitoring services to hydroponic growers to enhance the prediction of crop diseases and assurance of food safety. Healthy Hydroponics Innotech is headquartered in Waterloo, where it stemmed from the Healthy Hydroponics project led by the biotechnology company Metagenom Bio Life Science.

The Healthy Hydroponics team has taken the microbiome analysis technology that they have been using and improving for almost a decade in service of academic and industry clients and is applying it to the controlled environment agriculture industry. They use PCR, high throughput sequencing, machine learning, and their own in-house curated pathogen database to bring growers pathogen detection and microbiome surveillance services that have been tested and refined through feedback from commercial hydroponic growers. Growers are also able to track the history of pathogens in their hydroponic systems in their growers' portal, which makes it easy to interpret and make decisions.

Making informed decisions
Healthy Hydroponics' team of scientists is composed of microbiologists, molecular biologists, and bioinformaticians who can help growers create microbiome surveillance plans that are unique to a farm's hydroponic system and crops. Healthy Hydroponics' pathogen detection and microbiome surveillance help growers to understand the microbiome and its changes to make informed decisions going forward.

With the challenges of climate change and the consequences brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, sustainable food production and food security are more important than ever. Greenhouses, vertical farming, and hydroponics are some of the solutions to ensure people have access to high-quality, nutritious food that is abundant and safe. Healthy Hydroponics' goal is to enhance food safety assurance and improve the prediction of crop diseases in hydroponic systems, to give growers the confidence they need. 

Healthy Hydroponics originally started as a project funded by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative to strengthen the agriculture, agri-food, and agri-based products sector, and from the National Research Council of Canada's Industrial Research Assistance Program in 2020.

This two-year project allowed the team to work with hydroponic farmers in Canada to collect and analyze samples from their hydroponic systems to identify the microbiomes (microbial communities) in farms of various vegetable and cannabis crops and hydroponic setups. The team also collected farm metadata in tandem with the samples allowing them to analyze microbial trends and diversity in the data within a farm as well as among farms and across groups of crops. Identifying the microbiomes in hydroponic systems and in the root zone allowed the team to develop markers that detect microorganisms specifically and quickly. 

The team continues to learn from growers to help expand and develop their services. They are currently working with farms in Canada and the United States to help bring high-quality foods to the table. The company believes hydroponics and vertical farming are the future of sustainable vegetable crop production and their goal is to help growers provide the world with an abundance of healthy and quality foods.

Healthy Hydroponics services 
Healthy Hydroponics Innotech is currently offering two subscription-based services, Pathogen+ and Pathogen Mini. Below is a description and difference between the two different services offered. 

Pathogen Mini detects the presence of one pathogen at a time. It can be used as a precautionary measure to detect pathogens early in asymptomatic crops or as a pathogen detection test in symptomatic crops. This service uses qPCR technology for detecting bacteria, fungi, and fungal-like organisms or RT-qPCR for viruses. You can collect samples such as water, leachate, and plant material and send them to us for testing. 

Pathogen+ identifies the relative abundance of 500+ plant and foodborne pathogens. It can be used as a precautionary measure to detect a wide range of pathogens in your system before symptoms appear. It can also be used as a pathogen detection test in symptomatic crops when the problem is unknown. Pathogen+ uses amplicon sequencing technology for detecting bacteria, fungi, and fungal-like organisms. You can collect samples such as water, irrigation water, leachate, and roots.

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Healthy Hydroponics