MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 6, 2016) - Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc. (the "Company" or "BVT") (TSX VENTURE:BEE) announces a demonstration and replicated trials of its organic crop inoculation system at Virginia Tech in April, 2016. The trial will see the BVT system used to control Erwinia Amylovora, commonly known as Fire Blight, in apples, pears and pome fruits under the guidance of Professor Keith Yoder, Tree Fruit Pathologist, Virginia Tech Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Winchester, VA.
Fire Blight is a devastating bacterial pathogen that leads to substantial crop losses in many countries worldwide and affects all pome fruit (apples, pears etc.). In the U.S. alone, yearly Fire Blight losses and control costs more than US$100 million (Norelli et al., 2003). As an example of the severe economic impact that Fire Blight can have, an outbreak of the disease that occurred in Washington State in 1998 affected 36,000 acres of apples and 10,000 acres of pears. Washington State University Extentionist, Dr. Tim Smith, estimated an industry cost of US$68 million for Washington and Oregon combined in that year. The U.S. 2013 apple crop estimate, at 248.6 million bushels, was the tenth-largest apple crop since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began keeping statistics on commercial apple production. The total farm-gate revenue (wholesale value) of the U.S. apple crop is more than US$2.7 billion each year. (U.S. Apple Association).
Currently Streptomycin is the preferred method of protection. The current delivery process, per acre, requires 2kg of Streptomycin to be mixed in 600 gallons of water and blast sprayed. This process is repeated 2 to 3 times during bloom periods. The efficacy of this method is estimated to be approximately 50% or less as bloom periods can last from 11 to 18 days. As a result, not all blooms can be protected as they develop and, due to environmental conditions such as rain and wind in particular, even protected blooms can be washed clean during the bloom period. Additionally, even in perfect conditions all blooms cannot be protected as some are hidden by the canopy and sprays do not reach hidden flowers.
The overuse and waste involved in this application of the antibiotic are a serious concern to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the "EPA") and to other governments worldwide. For this reason, the usage of Streptomycin in a crop spraying regime is reviewed annually for use in the U.S.
The advantage of the BVT system is that it will use only 20 grams per acre of the same antibiotic (less than 1% of the current method of protection) and bees deliver the Streptomycin every day to almost all blooms, during this entire period and in small but appropriate doses. It is anticipated that, since native bees are actually one of the principle spreaders of the Fire Blight bacteria as they pollinate, the delivery to every bloom by BVT commercial bees will also stop the spread of this bacteria to a large degree, with very little or no product waste, no water usage and adopting a fully organic process. Given the minute amounts of Streptomycin used in the BVT system the Company anticipates no impact to the bees delivering the inoculant and no environmental impact. To this end, in March 2016 at BVT's pre-submission meeting with the EPA in Washington, the limited use of Streptomycin was of significant interest to the U.S. Government. The EPA mandate to use less pesticide is expected to favour BVT's process for apple and pear protection.
Michael Collinson, BVT CEO said, "The treatment and protection of apples and pears represent another significant commercial opportunity for BVT. The consistent daily delivery of preventative, beneficial inoculants by bees during the critical infection period, i.e. the bloom period makes the BVT system a compelling solution for growers. As has been the case in previous clinical trials using the BVT system on pomes, we are confident our solution will lead to significant decreases in the occurrence of Fire Blight in treated crops in a sustainable prevention program."
Official results from the trial will be announced once it has been finalized and the data independently verified. Current expectations are that verified results will be available in August, 2016.
Of the 87 crops that require pollination, BVT has identified 20 of high value that can be treated with its crop protection system. Treatment and protection of these 20 high value crops in the top 20 global growing regions is estimated to be a $5bn market.
About Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc.
BVT has developed and owns patented and pending bee vectoring technology (consisting of a proprietary tray dispenser containing a unique carrier agent) that is designed to harmlessly utilize commercially reared bumblebees as natural delivery mechanisms for a variety of powdered mixtures comprised of organic compounds that inhibit or eliminate common crop diseases, while at the same time stimulating and enhancing the same crops. This unique and proprietary process facilitates a targeted delivery of crop controls using the simple process of bee pollination to replace traditional crop spraying, resulting in better yield, organic product and less impact on the environment without the use of water or disruptions to labour.
Additional information can be viewed at the Company's website www.beevt.com.
On Behalf of the Board of Directors of Bee Vectoring Technologies International Inc.,
President & CEO
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This press release contains certain "forward-looking statements" that involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. All statements in this press release, other than statements of historical fact, that address events or developments that BVT expects to occur, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to BVT'S future plans and technologies, including the timing of such plans and technologies. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts and are generally, but not always, identified by the words "expects", "plans", "anticipates", "believes", "intends", "estimates", "projects", "potential", "indicate" and similar expressions, or that events or conditions "will", "would", "may", "could" or "should" occur. Although BVT believes that the expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results may differ materially from those in forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include continued availability of capital, financing and required resources (such as human resources, equipment and/or other capital resources), and general economic, market or business conditions. Investors are cautioned that any such statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on the beliefs, estimates and opinions of BVT'S management on the date the statements are made. BVT undertakes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements in the event that management's beliefs, estimates or opinions, or other factors, should change, except as required by law.