A Queensland team has won $100,000 worth of in-kind funding from food facilities designer Wiley for its plan to help boost global food production by unlocking the potential of duckweed.
Several teams visited Brisbane as part of the Global Business Challenge, which includes an opportunity to secure $100,000 of in-kind support from Queensland-based Wiley to commercialise their concept.
The 2015 Global Business Challenge was won by team Fish 4 Africa, from the University of Cape Town, which developed a plan for efficient breeding and processing of catfish in Africa.
The winner of the Wiley Genesis Prize was a team from Queensland University of Technology, which created a new cropping system to produce and commercialise the lemna aquatic plant, part of the duckweed family, to provide a sustainable, high-yield and high-value feed for intensive animal and fish farming.
Team Exatio, made up of QUT post-graduate students, also finished second out of the six international finalists in the 2015 Global Business Challenge.
The prize secures the team $100,000 in-kind of professional support to assist in taking their idea to the next stage.
Team member David Martin, who is studying a Master of Business Administration (MBA), said: "Every year around the world we are losing 120 million hectares of arable land to grow animal feedstocks. So by using non-arable land to grow new feedstocks like duckweed, we can save that arable land to grow food that people need.
"Duckweed is rich in proteins and duplicates every two to three days so it really is an incredible plant which could have significant implications for world food supply."
Wiley managing director Tom Wiley congratulated Team Exatio on securing the Genesis Prize to further develop the duckweed concept as a sustainable food source for intensive animal farming.
"We were incredibly impressed by all of the teams who pitched their ideas, but the QUT entry really stood out for its innovative approach in processing," he said.
"Team Exatio addressed a number of key challenges facing global food production, including water quality and land availability.
"We look forward to collaborating with the team to help bring their idea to life."