Team: Sustainable Mosquito Control

Team Lead: Ghislain Ntigonawoe (+1 808 400 2979; nawoe@pm.me)

Team Members: Karl Anderson (+1 218 686 7623; ande3701@crk.umn.edu) | Dr. Victorien Dougnon (+229 97736446; victorien.dougnon@gmail.com) | Louis Komlan (+228 93023192; komlan119@gmail.com)

Project: Sustainable Mosquito Control - Lessons Learned/Lessons Given

Perfecting ‘Moscato for Mosquitos’- Utilization of Local Agricultural Waste Products for Production of Viable Biopesticides and Entrepreneurship Training.

Define the problem:

Current methods of mosquito control can be costly, potentially dangerous, or even inaccessible to the regions most in need. The use of the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) as a biopesticide is a proven/safe concept. Bt produces proteins which are particularly toxic to the larvae of Aedes/Anopheles mosquitoes, which are known contributors to vector-borne human diseases. Ease of mosquito control is essential in reducing the number of individuals affected by disease. Finding a sustainable way to produce Bt biopesticide would allow us to globally combat the growth of mosquito larvae / reduce disease occurrence.

Describe your big idea:

We have worked to develop a novel means to ferment a subspecies of Bt which is native to Benin. Using waste from yam and/or cassava, we’re able to culture Bt in what we believe can be a commercially viable option which would be accessible to regions around the globe where traditional commercial methods are difficult due to high costs. Additional laboratory tests are needed to further perfect our media recipes and Bt strain. Overall, effective use of our proven biopesticide would lessen the nuisance factor imposed by invading mosquito populations. Our methods may also be utilized to train students / provide members of communities with entrepreneurial skills which not only promote economic stability, but also community health/education.

Describe/illustrate proposed solution:

  • Utilize our developed methods to create yam/cassava growth media for Bt production (fermentation).
  • Utilize 208-liter barrels as rudimentary bioreactors.
  • Introduce locally sourced Beninese culture of Bt to the fermentation units.
  • - Monitor fermentation units for consistent growth/sporulation.
  • - Properly sequence the native strain of Bt for further identification.
  • - Adjust current media recipes to ‘fit’ acquired waste materials/temperatures.
  • Production of cost-effective/environmentally friendly biopesticide capable of reducing mosquito populations in urban AND remotes regions.
  • Work with RAB-Togo to run a pilot program which provides training for students (specifically young Togolese women), providing them with the necessary skills to create growth media/culture Bt as a means to spur entrepreneurial opportunities.



Core foundation of research/solution:

7,500+ scientific manuscripts explore the use of Bt to control mosquitoes. Previous research/commercial application of Bt has proven its successful use in controlling mosquitoes. Bt is not harmful to humans, vertebrates, or ecosystems, has few impacts on non-target organisms, and is naturally biodegradable. Due to expensive culture media, current commercially available fermentation technologies cannot cost-effectively produce Bt. Less than 1,000 manuscripts have explored alternative growth media for Bt. Exploration of less expensive culture media demonstrates that potatoes can be used as a cheap alternative for culture media in Bt production. Traditional fermentation units/bioreactors are expensive / require a trained technician. Without sacrificing gross product efficacy, we have been able to use commonly available materials to construct rudimentary fermentation units. We hypothesized that large water containers such as 208-liter barrels would suffice / placing them in sunlight brought the internal temperature to the necessary 27-37-degreeC temperature for sporulation. We developed growth media recipes utilizing available cassava or yam waste / applied it to our rudimentary fermentation technology to produce Bt. Preliminary studies were successful.

Describe your end-user and/or paying customer:

The primary end-users will be landowners and/or those affected by mosquito infestation. Payment sought from local municipalities for regional product distribution. This project has been tested and will be implemented in rural/developing regions. Local students/community members will be trained via a non-profit partner in microscopy/molecular skills. The non-profit is particularly geared to provide these trainees with transferable academic/research/industrial skills which will promote entrepreneurial activities. In the long-term, this project has scalability potential for regional economic development.

Describe Technology Readiness/Research Literature Levels.

We have proven our concept and found ample opportunity to improve the overall process. We're at a TRL of 8-9, as our basic product and process need only to be streamlined.


Describe how would use funding to progress your hypotheses:




What you’ve done to date:


ASM Logo American Society for Microbiology

RAB Togo

Why your idea is an unconventional or creative approach to the problem.

We’re expanding our previous work. Our project continues to build on current knowledge, exploring the use of our own growth medium the native Bt we’re utilizing. We’ve proven previously unexplored rudimentary fermentation technology can produce a cost effective Bt biopesticide and will improve upon our methods. As a result of our work, it will be possible to train students (specifically young Togolese women) to develop their own fermentation units, create growth media, and culture Bt for controlling mosquitoes. Acquired skills will spur economic growth / address worldwide mosquito problems.

Built With

  • microbiology
Share this project: