Davis ag-tech startup to launch nematodes into space

By   – Staff Writer, Sacramento Business Journal

Davis soil-science startup Pheronym Inc. will test its biological pest controls in orbit later this year as part of a mission on the International Space Station.

The research will help Pheronym understand nematodes’, or roundworms’, biological functioning on Earth, and potentially help astronauts feed themselves in future space missions.

The space effort is also garnering attention for the small company, which is currently housed in the UC Davis-HM.CLAUSE Life Science Innovation Center in Davis. The space station effort has a Twitter handleits own website and an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

Keep Reading

World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit, San Francisco

We are honored to be among 15 companies selected to present at WorldAgriTech Showcase session (12-30-1:30 PM), San Francisco,  March 19, 2019.


Come and see us present our exciting technology solution about Nematode pheromones to control pests.


Visit and ask us at the Tech HUB about our new exciting experiment “First Ever Agriculture Biocontrol in Space” at International Space Station (ISS) US National Laboratory. This experiment has immediate earth applications and contributes to Pheronym’s ongoing product development Nematsim as well as collaborative efforts with the USDA to improve beneficial nematodes’ effectiveness.

Sending Nematodes to Space to Improve Crops on Earth


February 21, 2019

Nematodes will head to the International Space Station (ISS) National Lab to help improve insect pest control in crops back on the ground. Yesterday, the United States Department of Agriculture announced a collaboration with biotechnology startup Pheronym to send nematodes (microscopic roundworms) to the ISS as part of an investigation focused on environmentally friendly agricultural pest control. Keep Reading

To stay up to date on this exciting experiment, follow space worm @AstroNematode on social media (TwitterFacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn)!

Starship Nematode:

By Sharon Durham

One Tiny Step for a Nematode, One Big Step Toward Sustainable Agriculture in Space

WASHINGTON, DC, February 20, 2019—An exciting collaboration between the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Pheronym (Alachua, FL), will send nematodes (small round worms) into space to the International Space Station (ISS). The mission represents a look into the future where food crops will be grown in space. The goal is to develop environmentally friendly methods for space travel that are not harmful to humans. This will be the first biological control experiment in space. The nematode’s send-off, funded by the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, hopes to launch to the orbiting platform as early as 2019. Keep Reading



International Space Station Will Host Hard Working Beneficial Nematodes

As A First Step to Sustainable Interstellar Agriculture

Nema the AstroNematode

DAVIS, CA – February 20, 2019

Pheronym, a bio-ag-tech pest control company, announced today it has received a $100,000 research grant from the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory to conduct agriculture bio-control experiments in space.  The science will focus on Pheronym’s breakthrough nematode bio-remediation technology and determine the impact that space travel has on the ability of beneficial nematodes to effectively manage pest control.  This is the third major grant secured by Pheronym within the last year, bringing the total of grants received to $1,000,000.

The research is sponsored by the ISS National Lab, who partners with NASA to utilize the U.S. research allocation aboard the orbiting laboratory. Once launched to the space station, the project itself will be conducted inside of a NanoRacks’ NanoLab. NanoRacks, a for-profit hardware facility partner that supports research on the space station, will manage the manifesting, NASA safety review, integration, launch logistics, and on-orbit operations. All of this will be done in coordination with, and under the ISS National Lab flight allocation.

“For agriculture to work in space we must have sustainable, non-toxic methodologies for pest control,” said Dr. David Shapiro-Ilan, Co-Project Director and Research Entomologist at the USDA. “Pheronym’s proven approach to bioremediation has great promise of being an important part of that solution and advances our fundamental understanding of parasitism and pathogenesis.”

“We are looking to duplicate in space the success of our earth-bound commercialization trials of our nematode focused bio-remediation,” said Dr. Fatma Kaplan, Project Director and CEO of Pheronym.  “Our only regret is we can’t join our nematodes for their trip to the Space Station.“

To commemorate the achievement of this first ever experiment, Pheronym, in conjunction with the ISS National Lab, has approved an official mission patch, which can be seen at Astronematode.com.

For more information and to see how you can participate in the mission, follow @AstroNematode on social media (Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and Instagram) and support our crowdfunding campaign. Proceeds will fund continued experiments and commercialization of Pheronym’s technology.

About Pheronym: Award-winning Pheronym is an ag-biotech pest  

management company that enables sustainable farming through its novel platform of nematode pheromones. Based in ALACHUA, Florida and DAVIS, 

California, the company uses a new pheromone to control plant-parasitic nematodes (microscopic roundworms) in an eco-friendly way and also enhances beneficial nematodes’ efficacy to eliminate pest insects.  Learn more at http://www.pheronym.com.

About NanoRacks: NanoRacks LLC, an XO Markets company, is the world’s first commercial space station company with an existing customer base. The company offers low-cost, high-quality solutions to the most pressing needs for satellite deployment, basic and educational research, and more – both at home and in over 30 nations worldwide. Since 2009, Texas-based NanoRacks has truly created new markets and ushered in a new era of in space-services, dedicated to making space just another place to do business.

About the International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory:

In 2005, Congress designated the U.S. portion of the ISS as the nation’s newest national laboratory to maximize its use for improving quality of life on Earth, promoting collaboration among diverse users, and advancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. This unique laboratory environment is now available for use by non-NASA U.S. government agencies, academic institutions, and the private sector, providing these customers access to a permanent microgravity setting, a powerful vantage point in low Earth orbit, and the extreme and varied environments of space. The ISS National Lab is managed by the Center for the Advancement for Science in Space, under agreement with NASA.

Here is the ISS blog post about the project.

Pheronym Contact:

Mr. Karl Cameron Schiller
Phone: (352) 219-4464
email: schiller@pheronym.com


To learn more about AstroNematode and join the mission,  visit IndieGoGo campaign or Astronematode.com

15 start-ups in the spotlight at World Agri-Tech

The World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit places 15 agtech start-ups in the spotlights.
At the upcoming World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit in San Francisco (March 19-20), 15 dynamic international start-ups will take the spotlight. These start-ups will present solutions ranging from soil health, crop optimization, fertilizers, and healthy biotics, to precision irrigation, insect monitoring, off-road automation, AI and digitized farming operations. Keep reading
Pheronym is among them.