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International Hydroponics Research Team Announced


Release Date: September 6, 2006. Not Embargoed
Subject: International Hydroponics Research Team Announced
From: Advanced Nutrients, located in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada

Contact Information: Company Co-Founder Robert C. Higgins

Phone: 604 854 6793. Email:

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Making fertilizer for crops used to be as simple as gathering dung from animals.

With the advent of petroleum and industrial agriculture, most companies that make fertilizers use traditional approaches and methods designed to maximize profits.

“Big Agriculture,” as it is called, views crops and ecosystems as living machines that should be pushed to maximize production using genetic engineering, chemicals, pesticides, herbicides and other bottom line practices.

Big Agriculture’s methods and materials resulted in big agricultural productivity gains over the last 50 years, but also decimated millions of acres of land, ruined small family farms, and produced food that is less nutritious than food grown decades ago.

Some smaller fertilizer companies have a different approach.

One of those companies is Advanced Nutrients, based in the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, Canada.

The company was founded six years ago and now has predominant market share in the burgeoning general hydroponics industry. The company is planning an expansion into general agriculture that will bring its holistic approach to larger markets and diversified crops.

According to company co-founder and president Robert C. Higgins, Advanced Nutrients has an ecologically-conscious, customer-centered approach to product design and manufacture.

“We find out what customers want, and then we go out and look for the newest, best and most natural way to increase agricultural production for them,” Higgins says. “In most cases, this results in totally unique products that assist plant growth and yield in ways that the bigger companies have never thought of.”

As an example, Higgins cites a new Advanced Nutrients product called Connoisseur.

“Several of our fertilizers already held records for giving the highest yield in flower and fruit crops,” Higgins explains. “But we heard about plant-signaling compounds that could make even bigger and better yields. We needed specialty scientists to do the research. So we went on an international recruiting program to find the right scientists to design this product and a couple of others that are ultra-sophisticated.”

It was so important to get the products designed right that the company asked a team of scientists to do an extensive analysis of hydroponics growing and products.

After an initial review of the company’s product line and the challenges of increasing growth and yield, one of their in-house scientists suggested a total review of all products. Before the review, Advanced Nutrients co-founder Gino Yordanov went on an international mission to find the best personnel for the company’s research team.

Yordanov has connections with top European research laboratories, universities, think tanks and private ag science companies. He traveled extensively in his homeland of Bulgaria and elsewhere in Europe, networking with agriculture professionals. He personally interviewed dozens of candidates and talked to their colleagues and references.

After nearly a year’s labor, Yordanov and Advanced Nutrients earlier this year announced the latest members of the Advanced science team, along with new products and research.

The research team members are among the most highly educated plant scientists in Europe and North America, Higgins says.

The head of overseas research for Advanced is eminent European scientist Dr. Valentin Savov.

Dr. Savov is a microbiology-biotechnology specialist and a well-respected professor at the University of Sofia in Bulgaria.

He’s also a well-known published author of dozens of plant science and biology studies, including studies relating to plant growth and plant life processes.

Along with being a professor, researcher and author, Savov is an educator who designs classes and procedures for plant science students, industry and professional colleagues.

He is a pioneer in creating laboratory and manufacturing processes that make better testing of fertilizers and more up to date products.

Dr. Savov is assisted in plant products research by Dr. Pencho Delev, a multi-lingual PhD scientist with training and experience in biological, chemical and technological sciences in Europe.

His expertise in organic chemistry, food science, and teaching make him a vital member of the Advanced Nutrients research team.

Higgins says that Advanced Nutrients products will make crops grow faster and yield more because of scientists like Dr. George Tsvetkov.

He’s one of the most eminent plant physiologists in Europe. He has specialized training in horticulture, agriculture and viticulture. His research reveals the inner workings of plant growth regulators, plant enzymes, metabolism, and plant immune systems.

Dr. Tsvetkov’s research develops products that increase growth rate and yield, along with protecting plants from pests, diseases, and stress.

Advanced Nutrients products such as Connoisseur, Black Mamba, Big Bud, Protector, Scorpion Juice and Barricade are just some of the formulas that Tsvetkov’s research focuses on.

The use of plant signal compounds is an exciting feature of new Advanced products, says Advanced Nutrients co-founder Michael Straumietis.

“These compounds are unique to our products. They are natural substances that trigger beneficial results without harming plants or end users. Another benefit to us as a company is that our competitors can’t reverse engineer the products that contain these substances,” he says. “We’ve had situations when we spent several years designing a product and then a competitor tried to steal a formula or figure out what’s in it. With these new products, there’s no way they will ever figure out what we’ve done.”

Straumietis says the Advanced science team has created produce amazing gains in harvest size, or they make plants have stronger metabolisms that produce faster growth and earlier harvests.

Other formulas use non-toxic, safe natural cellular-level mechanisms to help plants resist attacks from spider mites, whitefly, gray mold, powdery mildew and other predators.

Advanced Nutrients products are superior to all others made by competitors, Straumietis says, because they’re field tested in actual hydroponics settings and designed by scientists.

“There are less than a dozen significant manufacturers selling products to the hydroponics industry,” he explains. “We have more scientists and more field testing than all of them put together. Most of them make products by slightly modifying fertilizer recipes from products they get at a discount store.”

As an example of the specialized research that makes Advanced products better than others, Straumietis explains that Dr. Tsvetkov is an expert in using special growth compounds to improve essential oil productivity in herbal plants.

Many Advanced Nutrients customers are seeking enhanced productivity of resins and oils in their herb gardens. Tsvetkov is focusing most of his efforts on helping Advanced customers get more oils and resins from their crops.

He’s also use pioneering gibberellic acid research to assist with improving germination and early growth rates for seed-grown plants. This research can help increase the percentage of females from seed-grown plants. It can also create faster vegetative growth so plants are ready for bloom cycle earlier.

Other specialty Advanced Nutrients research is being conducted by Dr. Yanko Mihov. He studies fermentation processes. Fermentation of organic materials has long been used by traditional farmers. Fermentation produces special nutrients and biological organisms that feed plants and increase plant metabolism.

Advanced Nutrients sells several products that provide plant nutrition via fermentation. Among these is Emerald Shaman, which offers the fermented power of dozens of natural substances. Mihov’s focus is to improve the effectiveness and speed of fermentation processes in Emerald Shaman and other Advanced products. This research will result in higher concentrations of organic components that feed plants faster.

Mihov also has proprietary knowledge of amino acid synthesis.
Amino acids are building blocks of proteins and a vital part of plant metabolic processes. Most hydroponics fertilizer companies fail to include the proper forms of amino acids in their nutrient products.

As with the aminos in most vitamin company products, amino acids in products made by competitors of Advanced Nutrients are in an inferior form that cannot be readily utilized by plants.

Higgins says his company incurs lots of cost putting the best amino acids his products. Mihov renders amino acids into a special form that can be most efficiently utilized by plants. He created a proprietary way to use microbial synthesis to produce a full range of amino acids easily utilized by plants.

Along with being a top researcher and inventor, Dr. Mihov is a highly-ranked university professor and published scientist who has authored nearly a hundred scientific papers in international journals.

He is an award-winning head of at least 15 national and international scientific research projects, and is co-author of university manuals relating to microbiology and plant growth.

One top-ranked Advanced Nutrients scientist is an agronomist with nearly 30 years experience in soil science, humates, plant protection, and ecology. Dr. Constantine Chakalov specializes in studying interactions between plants, nutrients and hydroponics grow room environment.

Chakalov uses sophisticated research tools and techniques to develop new crop hybrids and varieties that grow more efficiently. This research helps Advanced products produce larger flowers and more aromatic resins.

Chakalov is an expert in substances called Humic and Fulvic acids. Ores of deep earth contain veins of rich organic material that can be extracted to make Humic and Fulvic acids. These extracts are special organic derivatives that have a huge range of beneficial growth and yield effects in hydroponics.

Dr. Chakalov is dedicated to upgrading Humic and Fulvic formulas so they boost plant immune systems, increase metabolism, and produce larger fruits and flowers.

Higgins says that Chakalov has been involved in a revision of a popular Advanced product called Final Phase. This product is used by growers who want to purge pollutants, fertilizers and other impurities from crops just before harvest. The use of Final Phase improves the taste and smell of crops.

Chakalov’s experience in reducing soil pollution and purging toxins from plants will help Final Phase be even more efficient at removing problem salts and other materials from plants, Higgins asserts.

Chakalov works closely with another member of Advanced team: Dr. Todorka Popova.

Popova’s training, research and experience as a chemist, soil scientist, fruit grower and minerals expert provide a broad range of knowledge that will create improvements in Advanced Nutrients products.

For example, soil science is a useful tool in hydroponics gardens even though most hydroponics gardens use root zone media other than soil.

Why and how is soil science useful? Because many features of soil life are beneficial for roots and plant growth. Sterile root zone media in hydroponics often lacks beneficial microbes, aeration, enzymes and other features that living soil contains. These features are extremely beneficial for plants- especially for their roots.

Advanced Nutrients scientists have devised microbial products like Piranha, Tarantula, Voodoo Juice, Sensi Zym and others that help hydroponics growers bring the benefits of healthy, live soil into the hydroponics root zone environment. These products contain beneficial microbes that make roots stronger and more efficient. Strong, efficient roots means faster nutrient uptake, better growth, and larger blooms.

“The use of beneficial microbes is one of the most proprietary things we do,” Higgins explains. “This uses the power of nature to create root zone environments that repel harmful pathogens and make roots stronger. One of our products contains natural microbes that repel nematodes, which are worms that shred the roots of plants. Most companies use poisons to kill nematodes and other soil pathogens and pests. Our scientists have helped us harness the safe power of Nature to achieve the same goals.”

Advanced Nutrients has a highly-regarded female biochemist, plant physiologist and microbiologist on the research team. Dr. Svetlana Bratkova brings a high level of knowledge and experience to the design of products that cause hydroponics plants to grow faster and produce more profitable harvests.

Her expertise in beneficial bacteria, carbon ratios, pH, chemical testing, and the use of organic compounds in plant growth are helping Advanced Nutrients lead the way in developing the newest and best hydroponics growth products.

Along with European researchers who are at the top of the plant science, hydroponics, chemistry, microbiology and research industries, the Advanced Nutrients home office hosts North American researchers like Peter Vakomies, who among other degrees holds a Bachelors of Science in Plant Biochemistry from Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Vancouver, Canada.

After he graduated from SFU, Vakomies worked for nearly 20 years for one of the largest tree-growing companies in North America. While earning his Masters of Science studying photosynthesis, Vakomies was also an independent researcher, sales rep, horticultural teacher, tree producer, greenhouse supervisor and field planter.

Vakomies says he chose to work for Advanced Nutrients because it’s the only hydroponics nutrients company with a focus on ideal product development and specialty hydroponics systems.

“I grew my first sunflower at age six and was amazed when it got to be twice as tall as me,” Vakomies recalls. “At eight, I tried to get my parents to let me start a hydroponics lab under the stairs. I even remember asking them about grow lights. The people who run Advanced Nutrients share my lifetime enthusiasm for plants.”

Vakomies says he’s always been looking for new ways to grow plants better. At SFU, he was a leader of the Conifer Seedling Ecophysiology Group. He has also been involved in 100% organic farming. He lived for nine years in Canada’s Okanagan Valley and supported himself by growing dozens of food species and running an organic orchard.

During his career as a professional, amateur and career grower of dozens of crops, Vakomies has utilized all the hydroponics fertilizers on the market. He says that until he discovered Advanced Nutrients, he was thinking of designing his own line of hydroponics fertilizers- because the fertilizers made by other companies didn’t work well.

“I was always noticing that the other fertilizers were poorly made and were not specifically designed for hydroponics plants,” he says. “Advanced has the widest range of products for all types of horticultural interests. Advanced is more concentrated, produces more abundant growth and is easier to use than the other products. The company offers the ability to custom design a menu of products that is perfect for specific types of plants. Advanced is by far the best company I could ever work for.”

At the Advanced Nutrients manufacturing facility in British Columbia, Canada, Vakomies has many important responsibilities. These include making sure that products are manufactured properly, inspecting formulations, testing formulas in the field, monitoring customer feedback, and working with other local and international scientists to micromanage products so that the products always push plants towards higher yield of quality harvest material.

Vakomies is assisted in British Columbia by another outstanding Advanced Nutrients Scientist: Dr. Ram Kaw.

Dr. Kaw has more than a decade of formal academic training and earned a plant-breeding doctorate in Agricultural Botany at a highly-ranked university in India.

During his illustrious career as a plant scientist and educator, Dr. Kaw has worked at prestigious agricultural research and development companies in several countries. His main focus was to increase the size and quality of yield for several crops.

Higgins says Kaw helps manage a rigorous program of product evaluation, research, monitoring, quality control, formulation upgrades and new product research.

“Our scientists help us make the most cutting edge products, but also the best manufactured products,” Higgins says. “Our scientists are multi-lingual, from a variety of professional and academic backgrounds, dedicated to plants, and able to bring together the best plant science ideas and technology from the best research facilities, field tests and universities around the world.”



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