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Nan-Yao Su Receives EPA “Green Chemistry” Award

Nan-Yao Su, (954) 577-6339

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Nan-Yao Su, professor of entomology with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, was honored at the 2000 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award ceremony in Washington, D.C. for helping develop the new Sentricon® Termite Colony Elimination System in cooperation with Dow AgroSciences.

The award, presented June 27 by the Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of the Clinton administration, was awarded to the Sentricon® System. The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award recognizes technical innovation that incorporates the principles of “green” chemistry into pest control design, manufacturing and use.

Su, based at the UF’s Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center, tested a chemical called hexaflumuron that is low in toxicity to humans and the environment. Less than one gram of active ingredient will kill an entire colony containing millions of termites.

In announcing its fast-track approval of hexaflumuron, the active ingredient in Sentricon®, the EPA said: “This is the first chemical to be approved for registration under the EPA’s new voluntary reduced-risk pesticide initiative and represents a significant step toward achieving the goals of the Clinton administration’s pesticide risk reduction efforts.”

To deliver the growth regulator chemical, Su also developed a small monitoring/feeding station placed in the ground near buildings. When termite activity is detected, the monitoring devices are replaced with a cellulose material laced with the insect growth regulator.

The bait station technology is licensed by the UF to Dow AgroSciences in Indianapolis and marketed worldwide as the Sentricon® Termite Colony Elimination System.

“Conventional pesticide treatments may keep termites out of buildings, but they don’t control termite colonies in the ground,” Su said. “Unlike traditional barrier control methods, our new system eliminates underground colonies of both subterranean and Formosan termites — a first for the pest control industry.”

Su’s expertise prompted the National Park Service to seek his help in stopping termite infestations in historic landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, the Cabildo and Presbytere in New Orleans’ French Quarter, and San Cristobol in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In 1996, Su received an Honor Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for outstanding achievements in research and development of the new termite control system.