Principal Investigator – Jin Montclare (not pictured)
Entrepreneurial Lead – Andrew Olsen (left)
Technical Lead – Priya Katyal (right)
The remediation and detoxification of common pesticides, which cannot be easily removed with water or other conventional means because of their hydrophobic nature, is a problem for farmers, vintners, and others tasked with the removal of pesticides. However, these potentially dangerous pesticides are necessary to maximize profits among those who use them. Our engineered phosphotriesterase (PTE) breaks down dangerous pesticides into more benign products that can be more easily removed with water. The PTE, as a crystalline powder, would be added to water by the customer that can be applied as necessary.
As indicated by the growth of the agricultural chemical industry, the global use of pesticides is increasing. According to the agricultural market analyst firm Agranova, the pesticide segment of the market represents $17 billion with 11% corresponding directly to the sales of group 1B organophosphorus agents. Below, we have listed our potential customers into four segments.
The primary customers would be farmers, who would want to remove pesticide residues from the soil, and vintners, who would remove pesticides from the grape before the wine making process. A similar emerging market that has expressed interest in an efficient, affordable are cannabis farmers. A secondary market would be remediation companies, who often work in the case of emergency removal.
Currently, most bioremediation technologies are only effective at removing approximately 50% of pesticide residue from an effected area. The microbial technologies require supplementation to provide appropriate nutrients as well as continued aeration of the soil. Remediation companies, unlike farmers and vintners, can use incineration for the removal of pesticides, which is nearly 100% effective but is costly and not environmentally friendly. Our PTE would be able to a much more effective bioremediation alternative that would not need the supplementation.