What We’re Cooking This Thanksgiving

November 25, 2014 by Drader

Startup companies operate on a very human scale – no matter how disruptive and potentially transformative the technology. Case in point. While most of the country is busy cooking Thanksgiving turkeys, pumpkin pies and sides, EcoPesticides is in our lab at the #SantaFeIncubator cooking up the perfect batch of fungi.

Baby fungi in petri dishes @EcoPesticidesInternational
Baby fungi in petri dishes @EcoPesticidesInternational
Rice_Fungi
Rice with fungi in full bloom.

Not just any fungi either. These naturally occurring microbials are used to control specific insect pests like desert locusts and grasshoppers that threaten the world’s food supply. What differentiates our pesticides from chemical pesticides is that they #ProtectWithoutHarm to any living thing in the environment other than the target pest. They also differ from other biologic-based pesticides in that we encapsulate the fungi to protect it from UV, thereby prolonging its potency and effectiveness.

Fungi is not something we can buy off the shelf so we “grow our own,” starting in test tubes, moving to petri dishes and then to bags of rice. The fungi-laced rice is then put in a temperature-controlled environment to promote growth. When the rice is a nice, rich green (that’s the fungi), we dry the rice and put it in a sifting machine that separates the fungi from the rice. The fungi is then ready for encapsulation and testing on locusts and grasshoppers, our current target.

So while you’re enjoying your Thanksgiving meal, raise a drumstick (or a glass) to EcoPesticides in the lab cooking up fungi in an effort to protect future Thanksgivings and the global food supply. Cheers!


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