Aina Mo Soil Amendment Project: Organic compound from biodiesel glycerin co-product to control apple snail (P. canaliculata) on wetland taro

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2011-02361
Agency Tracking Number: 2011-02361
Amount: $460,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.12
Solicitation Number: USDA-NIFA-SBIR-00339
Small Business Information
40 HOBRON AVE, Kahului, HI, 96732-2106
DUNS: 048138569
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Penny Levin
 (808) 285-3947
Business Contact
 M. O`Hara
Title: Director of Business Development
Phone: (808) 965-1981
Research Institution
Apple snail, (Pomacea canaliculata), a highly invasive pest affecting wetland crops in 18 countries including the U.S., is listed as one of the 100 Worst Global Invaders. One study showed that due to its voracious appetite, present value damage from the snail could cost Philippine rice production as much as 2.3 billion dollars annually. In Hawai`i, the apple snail invasion has reduced taro harvests for the small and mid-sized farms that comprise the local taro industry by 18% to 25% annually. This project will research a unique control for apple snail on Hawai`i's wetland taro production using the unrefined glycerin co-product (UCP) from biodiesel production as a soil conditioner. The research will identify a uniform product, test the product on non-target species and conduct field trials on wetland taro to determine efficacy in controlling apple snail and impacts on soil and plant health. The end goal will be to develop a marketable product that provides environmentally safe control of apple snail on taro and enhances the efficiency and profitability of small taro farms. Locally manufacturing an agricultural amendment, Aina Mo, for use in Hawaiian taro production saves energy through import substitution. Developing value-added co-products from biodiesel refining will improve profitability for the renewable fuels industry. Sustaining and increasing wetland taro production will revitalize rural areas and preserve wetland habitat. Developing a natural organic compound that effectively controls this invasive pest will preserve water quality in streams and coastal waters and has potential applications for wetland rice production and preservation of wetlands globally.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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