A great Jewish company to work in the challenge of sustainability

A great Jewish company to work in the challenge of sustainability

Forrest Innovations is a global company with its North American headquarters located in St. Louise, Missouri. The company’s highly qualified, devoted, and experienced multidisciplinary team has created a robust platform to manage all aspects of creating efficient products and bringing them to the market. In Forrest Innovations they are learning from Nature, harnessing a naturally occurring mechanism. This is why they call their platform: Nature Treats Nature (NTN). A biological state of the art platform for developing a wide range of agricultural applications in the fields of plant protection, pest control and for new traits empowerment. The NTN platform provides us with all the elements for producing and submitting biological solutions. The major advantages of their technology are that is fully degradable, highly specific and safe to non-target organisms, very effective and robust, and non-GM.

Image courtesy of UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences at Flickr.com

Every year, mosquitoes kill 725,000 people by infecting them with malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever and other diseases. Now the insects are blamed for spreading Zika, affecting 3 million to 4 million people across Latin America in the last year. Conventional mosquito control efforts include spraying pesticides where the insects breed. But mosquitoes have developed resistance to many pesticides, and this solution means other helpful bugs die. The World Health Organization says that theses traditional pesticides have had no significant effect on slowing other mosquito-borne diseases.

This Midwestern business says it has another answer. Forrest Innovations of Creve Coeur is planning to breed and release sterile mosquitoes to prevent reproduction and eventually reduce their population. The company strives to use its advanced Ribonucleic Acid Interference technology to address two great challenges facing humanity: the first is in health-care, and more specifically, disease vectoring mosquitoes. Close to one million people dies due to mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever every year, and even hundreds of millions more experience pain and suffering from illnesses transmitted by mosquitoes. Historically, the standards of insecticide used for controlling mosquitoes has led to the evolution of insecticide resistance to the chemical blends DDT, BHC/cyclodienes, organophosphates, carbamates, and pyrethroids. Forrest Innovation’s approaches are to overcome larvicide/insecticide resistance by blocking detoxification enzymes and increasing the penetrance of formal pesticides into the larvae/adult mosquitoes. The second major objective that Forrest is addressing is in agriculture, and expressly, a disease nicknamed ‘Citrus Greening’, a devastating bacterial disease that is threatening to jam the major citrus producing regions of the world. Forrest Innovations is developing a unique solution for Citrus Greening (“HLB”); they call this solution Green shield: the ultimate protection for the trees. Forrest is applying an emerging biological solution, based on well-established research and observation of the disease pattern in different citrus cultivars. Green Shield is known as a target-specific green solution, friendly to the ecosystem and sustainable for short and long-term administration. Green Shield take advantage of an existing natural mechanism of citrus trees, to inflect the effects of the pathogen on infected citrus trees; thus, restoring productive and economic citrus production.

The concept is not recent. Agriculture scientists have long used radiation to sterilize fruit flies, which are then released to destroy off the crop-destroying pest. But fruit flies are much sturdier than mosquitoes, and radiation tends to kill the mosquito. Forrest’s mosquito monitor program, named NoMoreMos, involves a different technique to sterilize male mosquitoes at a larval phase. Afterwards the males are sorted by a machine, and the larvae receive a topical application of a solution that makes them sterile but does not modify their genetic code.

Image courtesy of Royston Rascals at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of Royston Rascals at Flickr.com

Their mission is to fight global food waste and foster sustainability. To achieve these ambitious goals they have developed a unique educational plan built to empower children along with social-environmental management skills and a sense of commitment, thus qualifying them as agents of change. The idea is simple: in order to propel a movement of change we first need to increase awareness to the reach of food waste. For that intention, they developed a fun, interactive educational program.

Forrest has recognized the need to focus global efforts of ensuring food security on improvements of existing infrastructures to avoid waste. They believe that it is possible to rightly feed all the people that live in the world today using the food that is already produced, and are certain that the additional 3 billion people that are projected to be inhabiting the Earth in 2050, can also be rightly fed with the same amount of food produced today, as long as this food will be more than just empty calories. The great challenge is to surpass waste and distribute knowledge and resources more progressively.

Yosef Meystel read that Forrest Innovations was present at the Sustainable Food Systems conference in 2016 that took place on June 20-21, 2016 in Tel Aviv. An interdisciplinary conference bringing together academia, industry, government, and NGOs to argue current food frameworks from field to fork including science, policy, and action. The company presented there its theories to overcome those challenges for the future.