PI: Emory Zimmers, Robert Gustafson
University: Lehigh University

Janerette's Eco-Friendly Fungi, LLC develops and manufactures ectomycorrhizal fungus inoculants for sustainable agricultural, forestry, and environmental challenges. The certified organic product line promotes quantum improvements in plant growth, disease resistance, and nutrient absorption even in poor soils. The innovation overcomes the traditional fungi constraints of only working with woody plants and having a very short shelf- life. This product is versatile and practical for broad commercialization while uniquely and powerfully solving the problems of mass organic farming.

The founders are outstanding researchers but have little manufacturing background. This project will provide Janerette with the latest techniques and approaches to developing their manufacturing processes and equipment for economical production and scalability in Pennsylvania. Manufacturing challenges to be addressed include selection and implementation of plant site and lay-out, production equipment, various manufacturing information systems, packaging design, and sourcing and distribution models.

Janerette is conducting several pilot projects this year that should create large demands for product in 2019. The manufacturing processes are sophisticated and must be highly controlled using bio-pharmaceutical reactors and handling equipment. The ability to scale all systems efficiently and rapidly will be critical to their commercial success and ability to realize large job creation goals in PA.

The project will take advantage of the Lehigh University Enterprise Systems Center’s close relationships with Ben Franklin Technology Partners–North East Tier (BFTP-NET), Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), the Rodale Institute, and ABEC Manufacturing and Embassy Bank to support the efforts. All of these organizations have agreed to support the ESC-Janerette project and will be in position to assist on day one of the start date. This will enable fast track accomplishment of project objectives.

The project leverages the research and innovation capabilities of Lehigh University and supports PITA objectives regarding manufacturing innovation, job creation, and student involvement/retention in PA.