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

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

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


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

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.


By Laurie Bedord

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To maximize their learning opportunities and network with industry leaders and investors, 15 start-ups from around the globe will be showcasing their solutions during the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit. The Summit will be held March 19-20, 2019, in San Francisco, California.

Pheronym is among the 15 start-ups to showcase our new technology on a new kind of pheromone from nematodes to provide eco-friendly solutions for pest control. Keep reading


The Power of Synthetic Biology: 25 Thought Leaders Opine

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Synthetic biology is an interdisciplinary field, best defined as engineered solutions inspired by biology to create renewable, biodegradable, and safe materials. Synthetic biology has found applications in several areas, including healthcare, agriculture, and biomanufacturing of textiles, ink, and other consumer products. Keep reading

Dr. Kaplan is among the 25 thought leaders interviewed by Dr. Meenakshi Prabhune at Synthego.


IndieBio Biotech Entrepreneur Panel at UC Davis

Pheronym Co-founders, Dr. Kaplan and Mr. Schiller, were in the IndieBio Biotech Entrepreneur Panel at UC Davis on Wednesday, January 23 with networking.

What is the most important thing you learned at @indbio? “Marketing!

Afterward, the Pheronym founders met UC-Davis students, other great current and future UC Davis entrepreneurs!