LSU AgCenter Technology Acquired By Industrial Biotechnology Corp.

Gregg Henderson  |  5/12/2006 2:24:15 AM

News Release Distributed 05/11/06

A company that commercializes proprietary technologies in the field of biologically produced chemicals has acquired the license for vetiver oil extracts and derivatives developed at the LSU AgCenter.

Industrial Biotechnology Corp. recently acquired Bio-Repellant Technologies Inc. (BRT) from UTEK Corp. in a stock transaction.

BRT holds the worldwide exclusive license for the use of vetiver oil extracts and derivatives – particularly nootkatone – as insect repellants and toxicants based on patents and pending applications held by the LSU AgCenter.

Many soaps, perfumes and after-shave products include vetiver oil as an active ingredient. Nootkatone, one of the 300 components of vetiver oil, also is used to flavor drinks with its distinctive grapefruit aroma.

Leading researchers in the LSU AgCenter’s Department of Entomology discovered that these eco-friendly compounds are a natural remedy against termites, ants, ticks and cockroaches.

"The results of our work show that these compounds are able to disrupt termite behavior and physiology," said Dr. Gregg Henderson, one of the inventors of the patented and patent-pending technology developed at the LSU AgCenter.

"Ingestion of wood treated with vetiver oil or nootkatone causes the progressive death of the protozoa living inside the termite," Henderson said. "Killing these microorganisms, on which these insects rely for the digestion of their wooden food, would mean a progressive decline of a termite colony."

Henderson learned of vetiver grass’s potential as a termiticide several years ago from Don Heumann, a nursery and greenhouse operator in Metairie, La. Henderson and Heumann are included as co-inventors along with Dr. Roger Laine and Betty Zhu.

"We are very enthusiastic about the commercial potential of this new discovery and the numerous products that can be developed," said Andy Badolato, CEO of Industrial Biotechnology Corp.

"By combining our designer enzyme technology and the ability to produce low-cost nootkatone, this research may provide the natural pesticide marketplace with a low-cost, environmentally safe solution against insects," Badolato said.

Badolato said his company will seek to leverage the distribution and marketing strength of consumer products and pesticide corporations globally to get to the market quickly.

"The LSU AgCenter has conducted research on vetiver and its extracts for several years, and we are pleased that the results of these efforts are nearing commercial application for insect management," said LSU AgCenter Vice Chancellor David Boethel about the latest developments.

For more information on the variety of research and educational programs conducted by the LSU AgCenter, visit www.lsuagcenter.com.

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Writer: Rick Bogren at (225) 578-5839 or rbogren@agcenter.lsu.edu

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