TechAccel, a Kansas City-based company that invests in ag-based technologies, is working on a product that could kill targeted insects without the use of pesticides.
TechAccel has signed a licensing agreement with the Kansas State University Research Foundation to further develop and commercialize its research.
“We see great promise in this technology as a nonchemical, biodegradable approach to pest control,” said Michael Helmstetter, the president and CEO of TechAccel.
“One of the great benefits of Kansas State University teaming with TechAccel on this innovation is we plan to conduct research not only targeted at crop and plant insect protection, but also other diverse applications such as virus resistance in aquacultured seafood.”
The research is the work of Kun Yan Zhu, a K-State entomology professor, and his team. It involves double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), a synthesized molecule that can destroy the genetic material of an insect. K-State’s research foundation received a patent on the technology in 2014.
What makes it particularly valuable is that a dsRNA solution could be targeted to a particular insect, making it harmless to humans, pets and other animals that might come in contact with the substance.