Smart pesticides, patented by mycologist Paul Stamets, could disrupt the pesticide industry and save our world
Paul Stamets, a mycologist and founder of Host Defensive Organic Mushrooms, was granted the patent rights of a fungi that could, in effect, disrupt the pesticide industry while providing support to honeybees.
The importance of honeybees to our very existence has been aggressively stressed upon in the recent years with scientists carrying out various tests and methods to help improve conditions of honeybee colonies. Although the colony collapse disorder (CCD) syndrome has not been fully understood, it is for certain that parasitic mites, viral pathogens and pesticides add to the havoc of the honey makers.
Paul launched an initiative called BeeFriendly, which supports honeybees using innovative research on fungal-deprived products with the objective of increasing bee lifespans. The ‘smart pesticides’, as they are being called, can provide safe and – most likely – permanent solutions for controlling over 200,000 species of insects.
The insect killing fungi – mycopesticides – attracts insects and once they eat it, they “become mummified” and a “mushroom pops out of their head.” However, since insects typically avoid the spores of fungi – since it could kill them – Stamets morphs the fungi into a “non-sporulating form.”
The insect-killing ability of the mushrooms poses a threat to the pesticide industry. According to Stamets, executives of the pesticide industry think it is the most disruptive technology that they have ever seen. He says, “This could totally revamp the pesticide industries throughout the world.” Thus now, Monsanto has a very threatening, new enemy – fungi.