BIO-CAT Hires Regulatory Affairs Manager

BIO-CAT is pleased to announce the hiring of Elaine Cooling as senior regulatory affairs manager.  Cooling comes to BIO-CAT with over 15 years experience in quality, regulatory and manufacturing support roles primarily in the pharmaceutical industry, most recently with Allergen Pharmaceuticals International.  Cooling’s role will oversee the daily regulatory needs of BIO-CAT’s customers, play a vital role in defining regulatory requirements for BIO-CAT’s strategic plan and interface with key regulatory agencies.

BIO-CAT Expands Sales Department

BIO-CAT is pleased to announce the hiring of Stephen Schuler as its newest member to the sales team. Stephen worked over a four-year period in various departments at BIO-CAT including Production, Quality Control, R&D, and Sales. He graduated from Towson University in 2014 with dual bachelors of health science degrees and a psychology minor. After graduating from Towson, Stephen worked in the financial services industry for several years in Colorado. He has since returned to Virginia and transitioned seamlessly into the Sales Department as a Technical Sales Representative.

BIO-CAT Hires Regulatory Associate

BIO-CAT is pleased to announce the hiring of Debbie Jackson as Regulatory Affairs Associate.  Debbie comes to BIO-CAT after working in the regulatory department for over six years at Perrigo and PBM, Inc.  Debbie studied Business Management at the University of Maryland. Debbie’s role will support the ongoing and ever expanding regulatory needs for BIO-CAT’s customers in strategic markets of dietary supplements, food ingredients, feed, and agriculture. Debbie will help develop BIO-CAT’s support of those customers and business efforts by providing information and support as it pertains to BIO-CAT’s line of enzymes and probiotics.

BIO-CAT Executive Assumes Role of Industry Committee

Chris Penet key staff picAt the recent Institute of Food Technologist (IFT) annual meeting in Las Vegas, Christopher Penet, vice president of BIO-CAT, assumed the role of Committee Chair for the IFT Biotechnology Division. Chris spent the previous year as Chair-Elect. His new position as committee chair is to develop and implement activities in support of the IFT overall mission and to engage members by providing education on the impact that biotechnology can have on the various roles within the food industry. “Biotechnology is a far-reaching topic, our primary goal for this year is to work with members to identify critical issues and develop ways to educate and update the food industry on what biotechnology means,” says Mr. Penet. “Secondly,” he adds, “is developing creative ways to engage students entering the food industry as to what the tools of biotechnology are capable of across the whole food system, from farm to fork. Chris’ term as Chairman will run through next year’s annual meeting.”


BIO-CAT’s 4th Annual Scholarship Winner

scholarship winnerBIO-CAT recently awarded the Brian M. Huffman Memorial Scholarship to Olga Findley. In the Fall, Olga plans to attend Radford University and study Interior Design. She’s passionate about art and her desire to help people has led her to want to become an interior designer.

Olga is originally from the Ukraine and came to the US six years ago. Before coming to the US, she had recently graduated from the 9th grade and was headed to a trade school to become a cook. She readily admits that cooking is not her forte but that was her only option in the Ukraine. It wasn’t long after arriving in the US as an exchange student that her host family fell in love with her and adopted her.

Olga participated in a variety of sports and extracurricular activities while in high school. She played on the varsity volleyball, soccer, field and track teams. She was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes all three years of high school. Olga participated in the French Club for several years and helped create the 2017 yearbook. She joined the National Art Honor Society, invitation only, and was the 1st runner up in the Miss Louisa pageant. Olga has volunteered her time in a variety of community service projects for the women’s shelter, women’s prison ministry and at an orphanage in the Ukraine. Every summer she has worked in the family business at Prospect Hill Plantation Inn.

BIO-CAT is very pleased to grant Olga Findley the $5,000 Brian M. Huffman Scholarship.

BIO-CAT R&D Lab Manager Talks Enzymes to INSIDER

Kelly Tinker Gregory, BIO-CATs R&D lab manager was quoted in INSIDER magazine’s article on “Animal Nutrition Leaps Into Consumers’ Priorities by Alyssa Tufts. As more and more consumer’s pets become part of the family, the demand for quality pet food is on the rise. Consumers’ expect the same quality of nutrition for their furry friends as they do for their own consumption.

Cat and Dog Eating

“Many pet foods contain protein mostly from soy and corn,” Tinker Gregory said. “Since the digestive systems of dogs and cats are not designed to digest those ingredients, it can put added strain on them.  The high grain content of many pet foods can contribute to the growing obesity and allergy problems in pets. Those situations may be avoided with use of enzymes in pet foods or added as supplements.”

Enzymes improve the breakdown of food; thereby, improving the release of nutrients. “Proteases hydrolyze the less digestible proteins in animal feeds and break them down into more usable peptides.  It can improve skin and coat, boost energy levels and promote a healthy weight”, said Tinker Gregory. To read the entire article, click here.

BIO-CAT Speaking at Probiotic Marketplace

Ingredient Marketplace logo large copy BIO-CAT’s Vice-President, Chris Penet and BIO-CAT Microbials Technical Director, Dr. Steve Lamb will present at Probiotic Marketplace, the day-and-a-half event that kicks off the Ingredient Marketplace trade show. Penet and Dr. Lamb will discuss the “Use of Bacillus Probiotics to Promote Health and Well-being”.

The world of probiotics and available information is changing daily.  How do manufacturers, formulators and consumers keep up with the volume of data and rapidly changing information?  How do they know what is scientifically valid, appropriate to rely on and is safe?  Add to that keeping up with, understanding and interpreting the emerging rules from a regulatory perspective and the landscape of information and data can be overwhelming.  From the point of the consumer, one can only wonder how they can make informed decisions.  It wasn’t all that long ago that the word “bacteria” was an omen of danger, illness, or worse.  Bacteria associated with food borne illness, MRSA, C. diff, cholera and so on, was all the consumer heard from news sources.  Those “bad” bacteria still exist but now after the last 25 years or so, the concept of “good” bacteria has entered the consumer’s vocabulary. Their discussions over coffee and in grocery store aisles are about trying to determine how best to introduce these “good bacteria” to their families and their daily regimen.

That dialogue started when consumers began to learn that the yogurt or cheese they had been consuming was actually beneficial in many ways related to their overall health.  They then began to learn and understand that they could introduce even more of these good bacteria by purchasing highly concentrated forms of them in capsules.  Media outlets began touting their benefits and initial studies began to emerge that these good bacteria might actually impact their overall health and immunity.

The flow of information continues, data is constantly being developed and possibilities touted.  However, the consumer now has to also contend with other questions- does my capsule actually contain the levels stated? Is a one strain better than 2?  2 better than 4? What strain produces benefits for my IBS? My immunity from flu? Inflammation? It is becoming increasingly obvious that many types of probiotics can address many of the issues and research must continue to develop more and more information.  The science addressing these questions must be done and validated and clinical trials need to address specific issues and follow the protocols that can result in clearly defined results.  The research into new strains and which strains can contribute to the diversity needed to address the various ailments must continue as well.

The class of bacteria known as Bacillus offers new unique beneficial bacteria that not only can be synergistic with the current strains of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, but also has unique, natural stability and an amazing range of metabolites (including enzymes) that they can produce.  These properties make Bacillus a valuable addition to the toolbox of probiotics that can potentially address many health issues. One particular  strain of Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus subtilis MB40 is a new strain that has been shown in clinical trials to improve digestive health and one that holds great promise  also in other areas such as potential heart health improvements and pathogen reduction through competitive inhibition.

MB40 has been successfully tested in two large clinical trials for safety, digestive health and improvement in overall wellbeing.  The results of these trials will be discussed in detail but include the following data and conclusions:

-In a trial of 29 individuals, no adverse effects were reported after 30 days of consuming MB40; patients reported over 70 initial digestive  ailments when starting the trial that were reduced to less than 20 by the end of the 30 days.

-in 21 of the 29 individuals, decreases in serum triglycerides from initial readings to conclusion of the trial were measured.  Thus, indicating the potential for MB40 to aid in improving key factors in cardiac health

-in this trial glucose levels were unchanged in any of the patients indicating the potential for MB40 to aid in controlled breakdown of carbohydrates and alleviating spikes in blood glucose levels

-MB40 has been shown to produce a wide variety of enzymes in vitro.  The scope of enzymes produced may indicate the ability for MB40 to aid in digestion for patients sensitive to certain food groups such as specific proteins or carbohydrates.

The data from this trial is currently in process to be published in a peer reviewed journal.

A second, larger clinical trial (100 individuals in a double-blind study) has assessed bloating as a primary end point coupled with 9 secondary outcomes.  This trial is scheduled to be concluded in Spring 2017 but as of this writing no adverse effects were reported, all patients who have completed the trial reported significant decreases in bloating and overall improvement in digestive health and decreases in symptoms.

Future research will also focus on what happens if world class probiotics and world class enzymes can be combined into truly functional foods?  Imagine combining the best long distance runners (probiotics) which can compete with bad bacteria, produce metabolites that enhance health with the best sprinters (enzymes) that work to break down organic materials immediately in the stomach and digestive tract to provide not only nutrition to the body but also food to the probiotic to enhance their growth and overall ability to contribute benefits faster.  Imagine a probiotic that can modulate triglycerides combined with a lipase enzyme that breaks down dietary triglycerides so effectively that the triglyceride cannot be reformed in the blood system?  These realities are being researched today and will become part of the dialogue as to how health can be enhanced with probiotics even farther in the future.

Bacillus probiotics are proven safe, offer health benefits, can be combined with other ground breaking technologies and offer the ability to develop unique ways to deliver the benefits of probiotics through common food products.


Amano Enzyme Visits BIO-CAT

Mr. Motoyuki Amano, the president of Amano Enzyme, Ltd. recently visited BIO-CAT in Virginia along with Mr. Atsuya Hirano and Mr. Ken Nishimatsu for strategic planning meetings.  Ed Schuler and his son Chris, the founders of BIO-CAT, have been collaborating for over 30 years with two generations of the Amano family.

BIO-CAT is an exclusive distributor of Amano Enzyme and they frequently visit each others headquarters on a regular basis. During the visit, Mr. Amano and colleagues toured the facility to view the recent expansions and upgrades and they were impressed with our continued growth. Mr. Amano reiterated their commitment to research, development and innovation in manufacturing the industry’s most effective enzymes.

L to R: Mark Walin, Mr. Atsuya Hirano, Mr. Ken Nishimatsu, Ed Schuler, Mr. Motoyuki Amano, Chris Schuler, Bill Stokes and Chris Penet

Enzymes and Beyond the Gut

Chris Penet, vice president at BIO-CAT was quoted in Nutritional Outlook’s article on “Enzymes Broaden Reach Beyond Digestive Health” by Melissa Kvidahl.

Digestive enzyme sales are on a firmly upward trajectory. According to Euromonitor, the retail value of the digestive enzymes category in the United States rose from $77.2 million in 2011 to $86.8 million in 2016; by 2021, the market could grow to $96.5 million. Chris Penet, vice president of enzymes supplier BIO-CAT (Troy, VA), says growth “is being driven by consumers looking for natural alternatives, and also by increasing awareness and education of the consumer” about these ingredients.

One point in enzyme supplements’ favor is that they enjoy a uniquely widespread appeal, says Melony Fuller, director of marketing at National Enzyme Co. (Forsyth, MO). Enzymes aren’t just popular among the 55-and-older set, who are generally receptive to supplement use; they also enjoy popularity among Millennials, who Fuller says are “the group to watch” when it comes to enzymes. Why? “This group is well informed,” she says, “and actively looking for ways to improve their health and feel their best.”

Undoubtedly, much of the category’s growth comes from enzymes’ popularity in the area of digestive health. Enzyme marketers, however, are smart. They are making a concerted effort to extend the reach of enzymes with innovative, condition-specific blends targeting everything from sports nutrition to pet health. By building on enzymes’ roots in digestion to reach a wider swath of consumers, the opportunities for enzymes are truly limitless. Here’s a look at the top applications driving growth.


Consumers are catching on to the fact that enzyme supplements can help them with their digestive woes, and digestive-health concerns remain the top reason consumers buy enzyme supplements.  Read more…

BIO-CAT Names Vice President of Sales & Marketing

Mark Walin, VP of Sales & Marketing

Mark G. Walin, a former Abbott and Perrigo executive, has joined BIO-CAT, a premier biotech growth company corporately based out of central Virginia. Walin is joining BIO-CAT and BIO-CAT Microbials as the vice president of sales and marketing for both companies.

Over his 30-year career, Mark has held a series of sales and marketing leadership roles across multiple healthcare business platforms at Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Nutrition Division and Abbott Diabetes Care Division) and most recently as vice president of sales at Perrigo (PBM Nutrition/Perrigo Nutrition and Perrigo Consumer Health). While at Abbott and Perrigo, Mark acquired extensive expertise in nutrition science, medical device/diagnostics and prescription and over-the-counter drug markets. Mark brings extensive experience and leadership to BIO-CAT in the areas of sales strategy, business planning, organizational design, product development, portfolio management, strategic partnerships, M&A, cross functional management and team development. His focus on external factors (consumer trends, segmentation, innovation, market structure, market forces and the voice of the customer) has provided him with the requisite perspective to optimize results and consistently deliver revenue and margin objectives for the corporation and customers alike. Mark has continually pursued growth opportunities which have led him to live in metro New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Corona Del Mar, California and Columbus, Ohio. He has resided in the Charlottesville, Virginia area for the past seven years.

Walin stated “Having moved from the large corporate healthcare space to the smaller and faster privately-held healthcare space, and then back to the corporate space again, it feels great to be back in an organization where the company culture and future prospects are as rich as that of BIO-CAT. Everything BIO-CAT does places the customer first. The company mission to be the ‘premier innovative biotech company’ are not just words; you see it in every action taken at BIO-CAT. Every investment, decision and customer interaction is predicated on delivering on promises, and in building an even more promising future. It is with a wide basis of comparison that I am convinced that BIO-CAT’s commitment to ensuring our customer service metrics are number one in the industry and that its can-do attitude is without compare.”

“Expanding Applications for Pre- & Probiotics” article from NIE features BIO-CAT Microbials

Data from the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) shows that approximately four million U.S. adults had used probiotics in the past 30 days. “Among adults, probiotics or prebiotics were the third most commonly used dietary supplement other than vitamins and minerals, and the use of probiotics quadrupled between 2007 and 2012,” the National Institute of Health (NIH) reported.

In addition, the NIH said consumers are searching for probiotics and prebiotics in order to aid in a variety of health problems including digestive disorders, allergic disorders, oral health, liver disease, colic in infants and even the common cold.

State of the Market

The consumer demand for these products is growing rapidly, resulting from a combination of media exposure, industry marketing of the developing, favorable research and physician recommendations, said Nena Dockery, technical services manager, of Missouri-based Stratum Nutrition. “Probiotics are one segment of the dietary supplement industry for which the benefits are universally accepted by standard medicine, especially for use following antibiotic regimens.”

With the awareness of probiotics on the rise, consumer demand appears to be for safe, natural remedies which can help in the treatment and prevention of various diseases, said Dr. M. Ratna Sudha, managing director of India-based Unique Biotech Limited. Consumers are also demanding clinically proven, scientifically documented probiotic strains with the promised shelf life, he continued.

Probiotic foods and beverages are the dominant segments in the global market and are expected to have a compound annual growth rate of 6.8 percent from 2013 to 2018, Sudha said. In addition, the food and beverage segment of the probiotic market is estimated to reach $37.9 billion USD in 2018.

Growth has been augmented by several factors, Dockery said. These factors involve stability and shelf life, as well as the introduction of spore-forming bacterial species that can flourish under much wider environmental conditions.

Spore-forming Strengths

Though [spore-forming] species are not normally indigenous to the human body, some do colonize in the gut and provide benefits to human health, said Dockery. “They are much more tolerable to variations in heat and moisture, making them better suited for inclusion in a diverse line of non-refrigerated food products.”

A stable, spore-forming probiotic like Bascillus coagulans Unique IS2, by Unique Biotech, is ideal for use in food products as its natural encapsulation makes it a hardy probiotic, capable of withstanding a wide range of temperatures and processes. It can withstand boiling, baking and freezing temperatures” and has a wide application in the food industry because of that, Sudha said.

BIO-CAT Microbials, based in Virginia, harnessed the natural spore state of the Bacillus organism, which is stable to a wide variety of environmental factors, in the company’s product OPTI-BIOME™ Bacillus subtilis MB40. The applications for OPTI-BIOME are numerous, said Chris Penet, vice president of BIO-CAT Microbials. Applications include powder drink mixes, baked goods, confection and dairy.

“Our product has shown to be synergistic in the lab with other conventional probiotics, thus increasing the benefits from multi-strain products,” Penet said.   Read More

Source: Nutrition Industry Executive article on “Expanding Applications for Pre- & Probiotics” by Corinne Anderson

BIO-CATs Third Annual Scholarship Winner

BIO-CAT is pleased to announce Daquan Hembry as this year’s winner of the Brian M. Huffman Memorial Scholarship. BIO-CAT established the $5,000 scholarship to honor Brian, who was a co-founder of BIO-CAT, and also served as vice-chairman on the Louisa County School Board.

Daquan graduated with a 3.64 GPA while holding down two part-time jobs and participating in several extracurricular activities. He was a member of the chess club, the Health Occupation Students of America Club, and wrestled on the JV and varsity teams. In addition, Daquan volunteered for the GO Green Government Challenge where he helped Louisa County perform energy usage audits that ultimately saved the County money. Daquan plans to attend VCU and major in Mathematical Science, followed by medical school to become an Anesthesiologist.

New Bacillus Subtilis Probiotic Survives Extreme Heat, ph

BIO-CAT Microbials (Shakopee, MN) has launched a new Bacillus subtilis probiotic ingredient that it claims is especially well-suited for the extreme pH and heat conditions involved with some food-manufacturing processes. Opti-Biome Bacillus subtilis MB40, the new spore-forming probiotic, is now available for dietary supplements as well as food products, with a self-affirmed determination as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS).  Since Opti-Biome B. subtilis MB40 offers a stable count of colony forming units (CFU) that survive through extreme temperature and pH environments, formulators may be able to use less of the ingredient to achieve the same effect as other probiotics, according to BIO-CAT Microbials.“I think our customers will see immediate value in formulating with Opti-Biome Bacillus subtilis MB40 as they minimize the need to over-formulate, which they had to in the past because of the limited shelf life of first-generation probiotics,” said Chris Schuler, president of BIO-CAT Microbials.Additionally, BIO-CAT Microbials research indicates that more than 80% of food dollars spent by U.S. consumers goes to food types limited for probiotic use due to extreme processing conditions. BIO-CAT Microbials believes the resilient nature of its new Opti-Biome MB40 will allow its customers to expand their offerings of products with probiotics.“Opti-Biome Bacillus subtilis MB40, due to its inherent natural stability, is perfectly suited for inclusion in foods that undergo longer periods of mixing and agitation, making it a value-added ingredient for manufacturers of premixes and powders for sports drinks, nutritional beverages, and so on,” Chris Penet, vice president at BIO-CAT Microbials, tells Nutritional Outlook. “Baking mixes can now have this probiotic included so that the finished food (pancakes, waffles, cakes, [or] breads) can contain probiotics.”Research is also underway to see if the new probiotic can survive processing of ready-to-drink juices, extruded foods, and other foods that undergo stringent processing techniques that have proven challenging for traditional probiotics, says Penet. Opti-Biome Bacillus subtilis MB40 is the first proprietary strain in BIO-CAT’s Opti-Biome line of probiotic products.

by: Michael Crane, Associate Editor for Nutritional Outlook


BIO-CAT Microbials Featured in “Ingredient Marketplace Exhibitors Showcase New Launches”

Ingredient Marketplace, April 27 through 29 at the Orlando World Center Marriott in Florida, will feature the latest ingredient information and formulation strategies in the nutrition, health, food & beverage and beauty markets. The event’s theme, “Mind of the Consumer,” draws from innovative new research—prepared in conjunction with the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI)—to uncover the mysteries behind consumer demand. Along those lines, exhibitors are launching new ingredients that are designed to meet consumer demands.

Among the offerings being introduced at the show, BIO-CAT Microbials (Booth G44) is launching OPTI-BIOME™ Bacillus subtilis MB40, a highly concentrated, shelf-stable probiotic ingredient for dietary supplements and food products. It is self-affirmed GRAS (generally recognized as safe) via expert panel review and will be available for sampling and testing.

OPTI-BIOME Bacillus subtilis MB40 is a naturally occurring, spore-forming organism that protects itself from extreme pH and heat like the conditions associated with some food manufacturing processes. The proprietary strain can be encapsulated in a dietary supplement to provide a more diverse probiotic product and support label claims with impressive colony forming units (CFUs). Formulating with OPTI-BIOME Bacillus subtilis MB40 can raise and stabilize the CFU count of products.

Chris Schuler, BIO-CAT Microbials’ president, considers the product “the best of both worlds,” as it minimizes the need to over-formulate due to concerns about the shelf life of first-generation products. In addition to dietary supplements, Schuler expects customers to begin developing more innovative food products containing probiotics, as OPTI-BIOME Bacillus subtilis MB40 has been shown to survive the extreme temperatures of some food manufacturing processes.

Probiotics will be a major focus of this year’s Ingredient Marketplace, with a one-day intensive Probiotics Marketplace scheduled for April 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.—the day before the Expo Hall opens. The full-day event will provide insight into what is driving consumer interest, scientific research and market opportunities around probiotics, as well as the “why” and “how” of developing finished products with probiotics. Separate registration is required and includes targeted education sessions and panel discussions from numerous experts, lunch, networking opportunities and poster presentations.


Penet Elected to VABIO Board

Chris Penet, BIO-CAT’s vice president, was recently elected to the VABIO Board of Directors. The Virginia Biotechnology Association (VABIO), an 07_IMG_2295_REVaffiliate of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), represents the life sciences industry in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Its members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.  Penet’s role on the Board will support the biotechnology industry and drive knowledge to address issues between the industry, government and academia within the state of Virginia.

Introducing Cellulase C500 Animal Feed Enzyme

Cellulase C500 is a complex enzyme mixture containing all three cellulolytic activities (endo- and exo-cellulases and β-glucosidase) and a variety of hemicellulases. Adding Cellulase C500 to animal feed potentially increases digestion by releasing more energy from grains and cellulosic fibers. Releasing greater amounts of energy from feed may result in improved feed conversion and faster weight gain [1,2]. The main cellulolytic activities in Cellulase C500 break the β-1,4 glycosidic bond between glucose units in the cellulose molecule, releasing smaller oligosaccharides and free glucose.

The rising and more volatile feed raw material costs are driving animal producers to produce more protein faster while maintaining acceptable margins over feed costs, which creates a whole set of production challenges [1]. To control costs, many animal producers are feeding agricultural by-products (lignocellulosic materials) directly to farm animals, but these are generally low in protein content, high in crude fiber, have low digestibility coefficients and contain anti-nutrient factors such as tannins and alkaloids (Kholif et al., 2005). Thus, to increase digestibility of these agricultural residues, it is important to destroy the linkage between cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin [2].


  1. Evans, Ceinwen and Thomas, Alastair. “The key to fully unlocking feed potential”
  2. A. Murad and H.H. Azzaz, 2010. Cellulase and Dairy Animal Feeding. Biotechnology, 9: 238-256. DOI: 10.3923/biotech.2010.238.256

BIO-CAT Hires Erin Steva To Sales Team

Dec 2015- BIO-CAT is pleased to introduce Erin Steva as the latest addition to the sales team. Before joining BIO-CAT, Erin worked in the wine industry. She is a recent graduate of Virginia Tech where she majored in Food Science and Technology with a business concentration. Erin spent several months training in the quality control lab and customer service departments at BIO-CAT before sliding into her new role as technical sales representative.


Unravel the Breakdown of High Prolyl Proteins

Looking for a DPP-IV peptidase that assists in the breakdown of high prolyl proteins? ProX Quattro has one of the highest DPP-IV activities available in the marketplace. ProX Quattro enables the addition of higher levels of enzyme activity giving dietary supplement formulators greater formulation flexibility.  ProX Quattro is useful in the food industry for flavor, texture, and ingredient development.  BIO-CAT can work with you to develop ProX Quattro custom formulations to meet your specific requirements as well as other custom blended enzyme formulations.

Contact us to learn more about ProX Quattro or visit us at Supply Side West, Booth #3370 for more details.

Parker to Co-Chair Dietary Supplements Committee for ETA

Julia Parker, regulatory affairs associate at BIO-CAT, recently volunteered to co-chair the Dietary Supplement Committee for the Enzyme Technical Association (ETA). The ETA is an industry trade association comprised of enzyme companies from North America, including the United States, Canada and Mexico. Since 1970, the ETA has played a key role in assisting with the development of policies and regulations that affect the enzyme industry. In Ms. Parker’s role as co-chair she will assist with the coordination and facilitation of committee meetings, suggest new topics and potential issues, write white papers and evaluate new regulations that affect the industry.

BIO-CAT Announced Second Annual Scholarship Winner

BIO-CAT established the Brian M. Huffman Memorial Scholarship in 2014 to honor Brian as a co-founder of BIO-CAT and the vice-chairman of the Louisa County School Board. BIO-CAT is pleased to announce that this year’s $5,000 scholarship winner is Hunter Watkins.

As a 5th generation farmer from Louisa, Virginia, Hunter’s passion for agriculture is shown through his many achievements inHunter Watkins 4H and FFA. He served as the FFA chapter president and junior advisor and participated in all chapter FFA activities, including Forestry Field Day, Forestry Judging, Hippology and Equine Studies Contest, Livestock Judging, Fall Festival, FFA homecoming float, Santa Council and the United Way Day of Caring. He currently owns and operates his own herd of purebred Simmental cattle.

Hunter plans to receive an associate degree at the local community college where he has already earned 23 college credit hours. He then plans to transfer to Virginia Tech and major in Animal Science with a minor in Soil Science and return to grow the family farm.

In addition to Hunter’s work ethic and determination, the scholarship selection committee felt that Hunter demonstrated the ideals that Brian hoped to impart in future generations.

BIO-CAT to Attend 2015 BIO International Convention

BIO International Convention logoBIO-CAT, the enzyme industry service leader, will attend the 2015 BIO International Convention, in Philadelphia, PA, June 15-18. BIO-CAT is one of 4,000 companies participating in BIO’s One-on-One Partnering™ program which netted over 29,000 meetings in just 3 days last year. This program helps companies identify potential business partners and schedules meetings in advance of the convention.

BIO-CAT is seeking new business contacts and partnering opportunities to collaborate further on the development of GFA-918, a triglyceride reducing compound, through phase II & III clinical trials and market approval.

To schedule an appointment to meet with BIO-CAT, login to BIO’s One-on-One  Partnering™ planner.

BIO-CAT to Present Enzyme Data to Reduce Triacylglycerides

BIO-CAT, the enzyme industry service leader, announced today that the Company’s abstract “Determination of Serum Triacylglyceride (TAG) Reduction Using Patented Microbial Lipase” was accepted for a scientific poster presentation at the National Lipid Association Conference to be held on June 11-14, 2015 in Chicago, IL. The National Lipid Association Conference is designed to bring the medical community the latest science and research in the field of Clinical Lipidology.

BIO-CAT, will deliver the poster presentation that illustrates the reduction in serum TAG levels with a Candida lipase. According to the abstract, pancreatic lipases are known to reduce Triacylglyceride (TAG) to Monoacylglyceride (MAG) which can be converted back to TAG via the Kennedy pathway. In vitro studies demonstrated that Candida lipase hydrolyzes all three fatty acids from the glycerol backbone. Removal of all three fatty acids can possibly prevent the reformation of TAG in vivo. Hypertriglyceridemia is implicated in atherosclerosis, and a predisposition towards cardiovascular disease. In addition, a Phase I clinical trial showed an observable reduction in serum TAG levels in a dose-dependent manner.

BIO-CAT Discussed Enzymes at Local STEM Event

BIO-CAT participated in a local community event that involved several Title 1 elementary schools to raise interest in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. Local businesses showed how STEM is used in their everyday businesses in hopes to “plant the seed” early and encourage students at a young age to pursue a STEM career.

BIO-CAT’s theme, “From Beginning to End” showed students how enzymes are used in everyday products. First, students sampled homemade bread that used enzymes in the baking process then saw an experiment that reduced apple sauce to juice using enzymes to liquefy it, followed by toilet paper that dissolved in water using enzymes to break down the paper fibers. To give them a hands-on memorable experience, students added catalase to hydrogen peroxide to watch it break down to water and oxygen.


Penet Invited to Virginia Ag Bio Strategy Meeting

Chris Penet, vice president of BIO-CAT, was recently invited by Virginia Bio organization to participate in the initial Virginia Ag Bio Strategy meeting sponsored by the Governor’s Office and the Virginia Secretary of Agriculture.  The group of public and private representatives discussed the strategy and planning of how to capitalize on Virginia’s Ag bio opportunities. Virginia Bio hosted a luncheon following the session on Bioscience Commercialization and Secretary Todd Haymore spoke about ongoing efforts in this area followed by Dean Alan Grant of Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture outlining the schools bio efforts.

Brian Huffman Memorial Scholarship

Brian Huffman’s legacy lives on through a scholarship established in his memory.  BIO-CAT’s second annual “Brian M. Huffman Memorial Scholarship” will be presented to a Louisa County High School senior this May.   Brian had served as vice-chairman of the Louisa County School Board and had been re-elected to a fourth term as the Green Springs district representative in 2013.

Education was very important to Brian.  He was an advocate for post-high school education whether it was attending a four-year college, community college or technical school.

To be chosen for the scholarship, students must be an LCHS senior with a 2.5 GPA or higher, active in extra-curricular activities and demonstrate leadership in volunteer or other capacities.  Applicants should also expect to be interviewed by the scholarship selection committee.  The second recipient of this $5,000 scholarship will receive the award for the 2015-16 academic year.

Contributions can be made directly to the Louisa Education Foundation (a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization) to the attention of Doug Whitlock, Treasurer, P.O. Box 130, Mineral, VA 23117, or by visiting the website.  Checks should include “Huffman Scholarship” in the memo notation.

BIO-CAT Appoints New Business Analyst

BIO-CAT, the enzyme industry service leader, announced today that Daniel Little has joined the company. Little will help BIO-CAT evaluate business opportunities and conduct feasibility analysis for new projects. In his role as business analyst, he will collaborate with sales and technology to identify new marketing strategies for emerging markets. Little is a recent graduate from the College of Charleston where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and a master’s degree in Business Administration.

BIO-CAT Patents Microbial Enzyme Blend for Pancreatic Insufficiency Patients

(Sept 2012)- A microbial enzyme blend from BIO-CAT to aid digestion in patients suffering from pancreatic insufficiency has been granted a U.S. patent (#8,071,089).

The enzyme blend, which includes a lipase enzyme, can help improve digestion for pancreatic insufficiency sufferers, including cystic fibrosis patients. According to company CEO Ed Schuler, “Digestion of foods in normal diets is a challenge for these types of patients due to many complicating factors associated with the disease. Our innovation is focused on providing a blend of enzymes that would help break down or digest materials normally found in everyday foods—namely, carbohydrates, lipids and protein.”

Also, Schuler points out, because BIO-CAT’s enzyme blend is microbial based, patients now have an alternative to the animal-derived enzymes typically prescribed to address digestion issues. BIO-CAT will conduct further clinical studies on the ingredient.

The patent is titled “Composition with fungal (yeast) lipase and method for treating lipid malabsorption in cystic fibrosis as well as people suffering from pancreatic lipase insufficiency.”

BIO-CAT Announces Receipt of Patent for Reducing Serum Triglycerides

Sept 2012- BIO-CAT announced today that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has granted BIO-CAT a patent for the use of a lipase enzyme to digest dietary fats, resulting in the reduction in levels of triglycerides in the blood stream. BIO-CAT, a Virginia-based biotech company specializing in enzyme applications, received U.S. patent number US 8,268,305 entitled “Methods and Compositions to Reduce Serum Levels of Triacylglycerides in Human Beings Using a Fungal Lipase”.  The written patent on this application was issued September 18, 2012.

Ed Schuler, BIO-CAT CEO, said “High triglycerides are a major problem for many people and we knew the lipase enzyme had the ability to break the fats down.  Our innovation is demonstrating the complete breakdown of fats during digestion in the stomach.  This led to further observations where blood triglycerides were substantially reduced in initial test cases.”

The innovation to use lipase to reduce triglycerides stemmed from previous work completed by BIO-CAT that resulted in a 2011 patent (US 8,071,089 “A Composition With a Fungal (Yeast) Lipase and Method For Treating Malabsorption in Cystic Fibrosis As Well As People Suffering From Pancreatic Lipase Insufficiency”) using an enzyme mixture including lipase to aid in the digestion of fats and other materials in the diet. This discovery is targeted to help people, especially those affected by pancreatic insufficiency, cystic fibrosis and other similar ailments, obtain more nutrition from their food.

BIO-CAT will be conducting further clinical studies to optimize both technologies in order to bring the product to market.


BIO-CAT Unveils Redesigned Websites

BIO-CAT and BIO-CAT Microbials, recently unveiled their new responsive designed websites, and The new innovative sites enhance the user’s experience with improved visual aesthetics, usability and functionality across all devices.

“We created the sites with the user’s experience in mind,” said Chris Schuler, president and co-founder of BIO-CAT and BIO-CAT Microbials. He goes on to say “we want to provide information to get the conversation started. Each site gives a snapshot of our story and allows users to get to know us, have a feel for who we are and how we can help their company.” Additionally, the sites include a global language selector to allow international customers up-to-date information in their native language.

A key focus in the redesign was to offer a fresh look that further enhanced the BIO-CAT brand. By modernizing the websites, the redesigned product page is more intuitive and easier to navigate which allows the user to quickly tailor the products to their industry. Both websites now feature more in-depth information on the company’s services from custom blending to research and development that further amplify the brand.

BIO-CAT Responsive Website

BIO-CAT Website


BIO-CAT Microbials Website

BIO-CAT Awarded Tessa Robinette the 2014 Brian M Huffman Memorial Scholarship

Scholarship Award Tessa Robinette_1BIO-CAT, the enzyme industry service leader, specializing in custom blending and formulations is pleased to announce that Tessa Robinette is the winner of the 2014 Brian M. Huffman Memorial Scholarship. BIO-CAT established the $5,000 scholarship to honor Brian, who was a co-founder of BIO-CAT, and also served as vice-chairman on the Louisa County School Board.

Miss Robinette ranked second in her class with a GPA of 4.65 and is a National Honor Society inductee. In addition to her scholastic achievements, she stays busy with many extracurricular activities including the talented and gifted program, captain of Scholastic Bowl Team, Vice President of the Future Business Leaders of America and over 600 volunteer hours as a 4-H Teen counselor. She will attend George Mason University in the fall.

After college, she would like to start her own business, create a nonprofit to help children with mentally ill parents and travel. “Miss Robinette is very ambitious and I have no doubt that she will accomplish each one of her goals,” said Chris Schuler, President of BIO-CAT.

BIO-CAT Establishes Scholarship in Executive’s Memory

Brian Huffman Revision Final_0

Brian Huffman’s legacy will live on through a scholarship established in his memory. BIO-CAT set up the “Brian M. Huffman Memorial Scholarship” at Louisa County High School to honor Brian. He had served as vice-chairman of the Louisa County School Board and was reelected to a fourth term as the Green Springs district representative last year.

Education was very important to Brian. He was an advocate for post high school education whether it was a four year college, community college or technical school.

To be selected for the scholarship, students must be a high school senior with a 2.5 GPA or higher, active in extra-curricular activities and demonstrate leadership. The first recipient of the $5,000 scholarship will be announced this spring and will receive the award for the 2014-2015 school year.

Contributions can be made directly to the Louisa Education Foundation (501c3 non-profit organization) to the attention of Doug Whitlock, Treasurer, P.O. Box 130, Mineral VA 23117 or by visiting the website. Please designate in the memo section of your check “Huffman Scholarship” to make sure your tax-deductible donation is allocated appropriately.


Ed Schuler Named “2014 Business Person of the Year” at Louisa County Awards Ceremony

“Ed is a person that has made a significant contribution to the community and to the country in general,” Jack Manzari, chairman of the Louisa chamber, said before presenting the award to Schuler, who turned the praise back toward his employees.

“Over the years, BIO-CAT has had the good fortune to hire excellent people to run our operation,” Schuler said.  Read More Here

Ed Schuler 2014 Person of the Year_2

Person of the Year Award_2

In Remembrance of Brian Huffman

Brian Huffman BIO-CAT Vice-President of Operations 

BIO-CAT mourns the loss of Brian Huffman, co-founder and vice-president of operations of the company. Brian passed away on Tuesday, December 31, 2013. He had worked at BIO-CAT since its inception in 1988.

Brian also served as vice chairman of the Louisa County School Board and was reelected to a fourth term as the Green Springs district representative this past November. He was involved in many community organizations, including the Louisa County Agricultural Fair Board, the Louisa 4-H and FFA, the Louisa Santa Council and Backpack Blessings. He was a supporter of the Gordonsville Volunteer Fire Company Auxiliary and was a member of Farm Bureau and the Gordonsville Lions Club. In addition, Brian was involved in helping area youth and volunteered countless hours to help support children and teens.

A memorial service was held on January 8 with more than 400 people in attendance. BIO-CAT has set up a scholarship fund in Brian’s honor at Louisa High School.

Friends and co-workers recall their favorite memories of Brian:

Mr. Ed Schuler, CEO at BIO-CAT, hired Brian when Brian was 19 years old. When he offered Brian the role of production manager, Brian was stunned and said, “Do you think I can handle this job?” Mr. Schuler adamantly said yes. “I have supervised over 100 people in my lifetime, and Brian was the hardest and most dependable worker of all. He was the best employee; he was innovative and never made a mistake.” Mr. Schuler recalled the time when BIO-CAT was in its infancy and had visitors from Japan; Brian spent three days taking the visitors’ spouses to tourist spots around Virginia. “Brian was a tremendous asset to the company and a terrific asset to people outside the company, too.”

After listening to various stories at Brian’s funeral regarding his community involvement, BIO-CAT’s President Chris Schuler said, “I don’t know how he found the time to do it all.”  Chris recalled the old days when it was just he, his dad and Brian calling customers, making sales calls, blending products and packaging enzymes. Chris said, “We’ve come a long way since then. I am going to really miss working with Brian.”

Patrick Woodson calls Brian “a human GPS.”  He knew exactly where everything was. Patrick went on to say that Brian “knew loads of information; he knew everything and could talk about anything to anyone. He was the communications link within the company. He made things happen.”

Kelly Gregory said, “He was the kind of person that even if you didn’t know him well, he would help you. He was always willing to help.”  Kelly mentioned a time when Brian brought over scaffolding after an earthquake to help with her house. “He barely even knew me, and yet he offered to help,” said Kelly.

Dottie Davis said, “You didn’t even have to ask, he stepped up to the plate; he always extended his hand” as she recalled one year that Brian brought a trailer full of pumpkins to give to preschool kids for Halloween.

Kacy Perkins, who has known Brian since she was a baby, said, “Brian was selfless; he wanted to help others without any recognition.” Kacy shared a sentimental story dating to when she was 13 years old and working at Brian’s dog kennel. She would let the dogs out of their cages based on how cute they looked or which dogs looked as if they wanted to be let out first. She said Brian came running over and kindly suggested that perhaps she employ a different system so that she could remember which dogs she had let out. She also fondly recalled his fashion sense outside of work: a camouflage buttondown shirt, shorts and boots, a nod to his love to hunt and travel.

Tammy Perkins said Brian hired her; she worked with him daily for ten years. “Not only did he have a huge impact on the success of BIO-CAT but on the success of our employees. Most days he made his way through the building stopping to speak with everyone he saw. I will miss those visits to my office most of all.”

Julie Litz warmly recalls the time she and Brian flew out to see a customer in the Midwest. When she mentioned that she had never been to the Ozark Mountains, he insisted that they drive there so she could see them. They drove four hours to get there. At the time, Julie complained about the long trip, but now she values the time they spent together. She said, “Brian took great interest in everyone. Even though the company has grown tremendously, he knew everyone’s names and information about their lives, such as where they were from, who they were dating and where they went for vacation.”  Julie fondly recalled the time that one of the girls in the lab had to bring her four-year-old son into the office because his daycare was closed. It was close to Easter, and Brian gathered a bunch of Easter eggs and hid them in the office again and again for the little boy to find.

Katie Lecker shared that when she first started working at BIO-CAT, fresh out of college, Brian continuously gave her a hard time about her shoes. At first it was her high heels, then her flip-flops, and of course, flats in the snow. No matter which shoes she chose, Brian seemed to think that if someone were to chase her, she would have a hard time keeping up. In 2012, Katie had the pleasure of traveling to South Africa with Brian to meet with a customer. She said Brian was a confident travel companion, especially in a foreign country. The day before they left she received an email from Brian with no subject. It read, “The customer suggested a light jacket and footwear approved by your father.”  Brian took one picture the entire trip; he requested I email it to my dad.

Mr. Sherman T. Shifflett, Chairman for Louisa County School Board, said “Brian and I became very good friends being on the school board together; we thought alike and both believed in focusing on student achievement, school safety and discipline. Brian had an unbelievable memory. One time I called him and said that we needed to change a policy. He said, “Oh, we changed that in our April 2008 meeting”.

Mr. Shifflett said that although Brian was a go-getter and extremely active in the community, he often worked behind the scenes and did not want any recognition. Less than 45 minutes after an earthquake in August 2011, Brian called him and wanted to know what he was doing. He told Brian that he was cleaning up his house, which had been severely damaged. Brian said, “Your house may be damaged, but the high school is destroyed. Meet me in front of the school in 30 minutes.” Mr. Shifflett said, “When Brian was around, there was always laughter. He was one of my best friends, and I loved him like a brother.”

Brian was known for reminding the Louisa County School Board, “It’s not about you, it’s not about your agenda, it’s not about reelection. It’s about the kids. We are here for the kids.”



BIO-CAT Featured in Nutritional Outlook’s “Catalytic Converters: Enzymes for health and beyond”

Nobody would claim that enzyme supplementation is as mainstream as the daily multivitamin just yet, but it’s come a long way. “What’s interesting is that when you look back at how many enzymes were in use in supplements in, say, 1980, it was about five or six,” recalls Chris Penet, vice president of BIO-CAT. “Today, we buy and blend over 60 different enzymes for our customers. So it’s grown very large in terms of the number of enzymes that people are using in their supplements to achieve… read more>>

Rob Beckerich Retires from BIO-CAT

BIO-CAT announces the retirement of Mr. Robert Beckerich. Rob retired in July 2013 after 9 years of service with BIO-CAT.

Robert came to us after 27 years of service in the business world. He started in basic and applied research in the following areas: customer service, technical sales, sales development, new business development, marketing and strategic account management. He has a B.A. and Master’s degree in Chemistry and an M.B.A. in Marketing. Chris Schuler, president at BIO-CAT said “he was brought into BIO-CAT’s new sales team to provide experience, guidance and leadership. We could not have been happier with the results. We wish Robert all the best in his retirement.”

Rob and Chris S.

Rob and Chris S.

BIO-CAT’s R&D Department Launches Internal Training Courses

In 2013, BIO-CAT’s Research and Development team launched a series of training courses for its sales, marketing, regulatory and Quality Control departments.  The goal of the program was to provide the highest level of technical expertise on enzyme usage to our employees to help them communicate more with customers.

The training covered the following courses:
·         Introduction to Enzymes and Basic Enzymology
·         Proteases
·         Carbohydrases
·         Lipases
·         Applications Testing

Further training will be conducted on an on-going basis as well as when new hires come on board.

BIO-CAT Appoints Marc Jensen as Senior Technical Sales Representative

BIO-CAT, the enzyme industry service leader, recently appointed Marc Jensen as Senior Technical Sales Representative.  Marc will be responsible for initiating and developing relationships with customers and prospects for both businesses, BIO-CAT and BIO-CAT Microbials.  He will be focusing on enzyme and microbial applications in animal nutrition, agriculture and food production..

I’m excited to join BIO-CAT which has an unlimited growth potential,” said Jensen.  “This is an opportunity to leverage innovative and creative ideas from my past career experiences.

Marc brings 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry with experience in clinical laboratory operations, clinical research, and product development with International Genetic Engineering, University of Virginia, Miles Inc. and Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals.  Marc holds a B.S. in Microbiology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

BIO-CAT Microbials Names Dr. Jessica Spears as Research Scientist

BIO-CAT Microbials, a market leader in the production of microbial products, announced that Dr. Jessica Spears has joined the company as the new Research Scientist. Her main focus will be optimizing the sporulation of all BCM’s Bacillus production cultures.  In addition, she will be responsible for research, applications, and development of improved microbial methodologies.

“Dr. Spears brings a wealth of microbial knowledge and experience and a high energy, team-focused approach to technology development that will prove to be invaluable to developing and commercializing our unique Bacillus-based products”, said Dr. Steve Lamb, Technical Director at BIO-CAT Microbials.

Dr. Spears earned a BS in Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a PhD in Microbiology from Ohio State University.  She completed one year of post-doctoral research at the RNA Institute at the State University of New York-Albany.

BIO-CAT announces Julia Parker as new Regulatory Affairs Associate

June 2013- BIO-CAT, the enzyme industry service leader, recently expanded their team with the addition of Julia Parker as the Regulatory Affairs Associate.  Julia will be responsible for all aspects of BIO-CAT and BIO-CAT Microbials regulatory issues as they pertain to our products. She comes to BIO-CAT from Perrigo Nutritional, a large manufacturer of store brand infant formulas, where she was responsible for various aspects of international regulations and reviewing product data for compliance.  Julia graduated from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry.

BIO-CAT Announces Michael Hammond as Inside Technical Sales Rep

May 2013 – BIO-CAT announces new hire Michael Hammond as Inside Technical Sales Rep.  Michael will be handling day-to-day sales as well as maintaining smaller accounts. Michael received a degree in Business Administration from Radford University.  He brings ten plus years of business, purchasing and sales experience including a term as Purchasing Manager at PBM Products in Gordonsville, VA.

BIO-CAT Breaks Ground on New 15,000 Square Foot Building

1-IMG_0171May 2013 – BIO-CAT, the enzyme industry service leader, held a groundbreaking ceremony recently for a new 15,000 square foot building, May 2, 2013.  This expansion “will allow for growth in our capabilities in blending and packaging of enzymes to meet our customer’s needs”, said Chris Schuler, CEO.  BIO-CAT plans to hire additional employees by the end of the year.  In 2012, BIO-CAT completed another expansion to include building a brand new R&D facility and additional office spaces.

BIO-CAT operates another business in Minnesota, which manufactures bacteria through a fermentation process.  The combination of technologies between BIO-CAT and BIO-CAT Microbials allows the company to expand their custom solutions by developing unique enzyme and bacteria blends.

Dr. Laaman Brings 25 Years of Industry Experience to BIO-CAT

April 13 -BIO-CAT, today announced that Dr. Thomas Laaman has joined the company as the new Technical Director.  “Dr. Laaman brings a very customer focused approach to enzyme product development and considers innovation to be the key for success”, said Ed Schuler, CEO and Founder of BIO-CAT.
Dr. Laaman believes “we have to translate needs that customers express to us into tangible commercial products but we need to also go way beyond that.  We need to be willing to creatively extrapolate our unique Bio-Cat enzymes into market segments and applications where the researchers in those applications could not have anticipated a unique enzyme solution to long existing or newly developing challenges.”
Prior to joining BIO-CAT, Dr. Laaman led research and product development at companies such as Merck, FMC Corporation, and Pepsico as well as the Norwegian company Pronova and the Japanese company Kimica.  He combines the highest level of basic and applied scientific knowledge obtained from earning degrees at Cornell, Ohio State, Texas A&M, and a post-doctoral stint at the University of Texas Medical School. 
According to Dr. Laaman, “behind every big problem or challenge there often lies an equally big enzyme opportunity.  Bio-Cat has a 25 year history of success and innovation doing things that much bigger companies weren’t able or willing to do and we intend to build on that great foundation and existing corporate culture to reach even higher heights. The key will be using BIO-CAT enzymes and microbials to help bring our many loyal and newly acquired customers the success they crave.”

BIO-CAT Hires New Marketing Manager

March 2013- Chris Schuler, President at BIO-CAT, announces Candy Buchanan as the company’s new manager of marketing in their Troy, VA facility.  She will be in charge of marketing communications, strategic and tactical implementation through advertising, brand management, collateral development, social media, and industry tradeshows.  “This is a new position at BIO-CAT and we are excited to welcome Candy to our team.”
Candy previously worked in a variety of marketing roles at G4S, Commercial and  She brings a wealth of experience in marketing communications, tradeshow management, event planning, and corporate branding.  She holds a bachelor’s of business administration from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Bacteria Boosts Virginia Farmer To Win State Contest

May 2012- Steve Smith was willing to try something new to increase his soybean yield, but he’d never heard of adding helpful bacteria to the soil to improve plant health. Adding BioStart® RhizoBoost to his soil resulted in over 66 bushels per acre of double-crop soybeans, winning him the top spot in the state for 2011. Compare that to the average expected yield of 35 bushels per acre according to The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS).

Smith wanted more from his time and effort and was frustrated when a fertilizer consultant told him that he had no other options to increase yields and lower costs. He contacted the Orange Madison Cooperative in Louisa, VA and worked with Cal Compton on an innovative approach. BioStart® RhizoBoost, a proprietary blend of 4 Bacillus species, was applied to improve the soil at the plant roots.

“A little goes a long way. I had the prettiest crop I’d ever seen,” Smith said. His crop was so good; he decided to enter the contest.

The prize for winning the state contest was $200, but Smith is more pleased with learning about BioStart® RhizoBoost. “Now I’m using it on everything – corn, wheat, alfalfa and soybeans. I’m interested to see how it will improve a new field I’ve just started working,” Smith stated. “I suspect it will be helpful in dry conditions.”

BIO-CAT, a Virginia-based biotech company specializing in enzymes and microbials, manufactures the BioStart® RhizoBoost product at its BIO-CAT Microbials facility. The helpful bacteria in their products are completely natural and biodegradable. Steve’s wife, Cindy Smith, is on the Hanover-Caroline Soil & Water Conservation District Board of Directors. “I’m interested in products that don’t have a negative effect on the water systems and that don’t run-off and cause a problem in the Chesapeake Bay. This is a good start. Maybe we can reduce the amount of fertilizer we use.”

Innovation with agricultural products and farming techniques will continue to be part of Steve Smith’s plan.   Orange Madison Cooperative has been a good partner. “OMC appreciates my business,” Smith said and “they take pride in their work and are very conscientious.

BIO-CAT is a biotech company specializing in the custom blending and manufacture of enzymes and microbials. Known for its can-do attitude and biotech inventiveness, BIO-CAT is ISO 9001:2008 certified and its facilities in Virginia and Minnesota feature state-of-the-art laboratories for scientific research, product development and on-site quality testing to better serve customers. BIO-CAT Microbials develops beneficial bacteria-based products for use in animal feed, agricultural, wastewater treatment and aquaculture markets. The company manufactures BioStart® RhizoBoost, a natural soil inoculant designed to improve soil biodiversity and plant health. Studies show that BioStart® RhizoBoost can increase crop yields 25-50%.