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Phase I Grant for Sterile Insect Technique Irradiator

1 July 2019

Austin, TX

Stellarray, Inc. announced it has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Small Business Innovation Research Program to develop a new kind of irradiator for use with the sterile insect technique (SIT). SIT is a non-chemical, non-GMO method of controlling insect pests that harm humans or crops. Insect larvae are irradiated just enough to render them sterile when they grow to adults but leave them otherwise healthy. The sterile insects mate when released into the field but yield no offspring. SIT has been used successfully to control agricultural pests such as the medfly or the Mexican fruit fly and human/animal pests such as certain species of mosquito and the tsetse fly.

The irradiators used in SIT typically have isotopes such as Cs-137 or Co-60 as their radiation source. These present a security hazard, especially in light of the more remote locations of some SIT facilities, hence the interest in alternative technologies. Stellarray’s Sterile Insect Technique X-ray Irradiator (SIXI), will use a new version of our flat panel x-ray source designed for continuous, industrial-scale operation in a conveyor belt system. The system is being designed to fit seamlessly into SIT operations and to even help make them more efficient. SIXI will emit x-rays over the range of energies suitable for SIT dosing, and will be modular to fit the full range of SIT operations. The same type of system can be used in several other product and agricultural sterilization markets.

Mark Eaton, CEO of Stellarray, said “The SIXI system will help eliminate another category of potentially dangerous isotope applications. We believe SIT has been limited by the choice of available irradiator technology and hope that our system will contribute to the expansion of this very useful, environmentally-conscious method of controlling insect pests. ”

Stellarray develops and manufactures FPXS and irradiators according to ISO 13485 medical device standards in a fully equipped research and manufacturing facility in north Austin. The company is also developing digital “smart x-ray sources” for next generation computed tomography and micro/nano-focus x-ray sources for applications such as x-ray microscopy. For further information please contact info@stellar-ray.com.