SBIR Phase II: Development of Novel Repellents for the Honeybee, Apis mellifera
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project provides the scientific foundation for a paradigm shift in insect pest control away from traditional insecticides to products that alter insect behavior by manipulating insect chemosensory proteins. We used rational design to isolate compounds that bind to critical insect chemosensory proteins, and are isolating those compounds capable of altering insect behavior. In response to citrus grower demand we have isolated small molecules that have the potential to alter the foraging behavior of the agriculturally and economically significant insect, Apis mellifera (European honeybee). Our final products will be repellents capable of protecting citrus from unwanted pollination. The technologies utilized here are applicable to the development of control products for other insect pest species, including insect carriers of human disease and insect pests of economic, agricultural, or domestic significance.
The broader impacts of this research are avoiding the use of insecticides and expanding our ability to control insect behavior. The initial insect targeted, the European honeybee (Apis mellifera), provides essential pollination that adds an estimated $14 billion annually in value to US crops. However, unwanted honeybee pollination severely decreases the value of mandarin crops, leading to the need for an effective bee repellent that is safe for bees and humans alike. Similar approaches are currently underway to control other important agricultural and public health pests. This project utilizes novel methods with the potential to transform the way insect control products are designed and utilized.
Small Business Information at Submission:
17905 Sky Park Circle STE P STE PIrvine, CA 92614
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