Nematode Pheromone Extract Dramatically Increases Efficacy of Nematode Dispersal for Crop Biocontrol
DAVIS, California – August 24, 2020– Pheronym, an Ag-biotech pest control company, has been granted its patent for its breakthrough in creating a way to increase the effectiveness of Nematodes’ ability to control pest insects, naturally, in agriculture. The patent is listed as “Nematode dispersant composition and method” and is US patent number: US 10,736,326 B2.”
While nematodes (microscopic roundworms) are regularly used in pest control, commercially available nematodes do not disperse as well as they could when they are applied to a field. This is because they have lost their pheromone signal to hunt for new prey. Since the insect target is mobile, the nematodes need to be actively moving and hunting for a new insect host. Pheronym’s patent directly impacts this problem – significantly improving the mobility and aggressiveness of the nematodes making them more effective in killing pests. It also expands their effective temperature range.
“It’s great to have additional validation on our breakthrough,” said Dr. Fatma Kaplan, CEO of Pheronym. “The recognition of our IP along with four peer-reviewed studies on its effectiveness bring us another step closer to broad commercialization of this natural approach to pest control that will be better for people and our planet. ”
DAVIS, CA, UNITED STATES, August 10, 2020 — Pheronym, an ag-biotech pest control company, announced today the results of their fourth peer-reviewed study, this one focused on the results of their collaboration with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (manager of the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory) and USDA-ARS during onboard experiments conducted on the International Space Station (ISS) between December 2019 and January 2020. The study, published in Nature Partner Journal/npj Microgravity, highlights that nematodes successfully emerged from consumed insect host cadavers, moved through soil, found and infected bait-insects in a manner equivalent to Earth controls. However, nematodes that developed entirely in space, from the egg stage, died upon return to Earth, unlike controls in microgravity and on Earth.
The research, led by Dr. Fatma Kaplan, focused on the beneficial nematodes’ dispersal, foraging, infectivity, and pheromone production in microgravity.
“This agricultural biocontrol experiment in space gives insight to long-term space flight for symbiotic organisms, parasite biology, and the potential for sustainable crop protection in space,” said Dr. Fatma Kaplan, CEO of Pheronym. “It gives us valuable insight on how to keep beneficial nematodes alive and viable for agriculture on other planets.”