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Soil amendment company seeks Chapter 11 protection


An Oregon-based soil amendment manufacturer has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, under which companies can stay operational while restructuring their debt.



Absorbent Technologies of Beaverton, Ore., makes biodegradable "Zeba" polymers that absorb water to retain soil moisture, which is aimed at improving plant growth.



According to the firm's bankruptcy filing, it owes between $10 million and $50 million to fewer than 200 creditors and has between $10 million and $50 million in assets.



The company would not comment on the bankruptcy.



Absorbent Technologies was founded in 2003 to commercialize technology developed by USDA researcher William Doane, a member of the agency's Agricultural Research Service Science Hall of Fame.



The company licensed the water-retaining polymers to the Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., which used the product in grass seed coatings to improve germination.



Absorbent Technologies owes $1.7 million in unsecured trade debt to Scotts, according to the bankruptcy filing.



Apart from its headquarters in Beaverton, the company has manufacturing and product development facilities in Albany, Ore.



-- Mateusz Perkowski



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