FA Bio Celebrates Women Inventors Month

February felt like a month made for FA-Bio as we celebrated Women Inventors month.  As a passionate team determined to continuously bring new innovations to the world of agriculture, we felt it was fitting to highlight the women inventors that inspire us individually.  A lot were inspired by someone from their own culture or with a shared passion or interest.

We started the month with an inspiration of mine, Sister Rosetta Tharpe the inventor of Rock and Roll.  Growing up in a family of musicians the love of music in all its forms became a part of who I am, and finding out that it was a woman of colour that influenced a whole popular genre of music thrilled me. She was the first recording artist of gospel music and the originator of an unmistakeable sound and style. She is a reminder that your creativity is never something to be feared, no matter the field.

Next, Natalia Franco Taketani our Process and Quality Manager a native Brazilian herself brought us her biggest inspiration Johanna Liesbeth Kubelka Dobereiner, a Brazilian Agronomist and pioneer in soil biology who developed a technology capable of reducing and in some cases eliminating dependence on the use of nitrogen fertilisation using nitrogen-fixing bacteria. This tech has led to Brazil establishing itself as one of the largest producers of soy.  In the words of Natalia, “Johanna was an extraordinary woman whose influence has been a source of inspiration for me since my childhood. Beyond shaping my own path, she played a pivotal role in guiding and motivating my father to embark on a remarkable journey as a Soil Microbiology Scientist. He devoted his life to soil recovery and reforestation, employing innovative methods that involved the symbiotic relationship between plants and microbes.”

Dr Janaki Ammal; the first Indian woman botanist was the first to leave her home country of India and gain a degree in science which resonated with Dr. Vijayalakshmi Gunasekaran as she went on to do the same. Ammal went on to develop hybrid crop species including sugarcane contributing greatly to the Indian sugarcane industry. Even at 80 years old she was advocating and fighting for the preservation of a forest that is now one of the last undisturbed forests of India giving home and life to endangered and endemic flora and fauna. Dr. Vijayalakshmi Gunasekaran spoke with admiration about the fire that drove Ammal to step away from what was culturally expected of her to forge her own path.

Then, there were the mentions we didn’t get to share during the month of February.  Young Nam Lee a creative and expressive spirit herself shared the story of Sei Shōnagon, the Japanese author of The Pillow Book, a collection of observations and musings from her time spent as a court lady to the Empress Teishi (Sadako). A collection of essays, anecdotes and poems that have been adapted into a film of the same name. Who knows, maybe she inspired the first bloggers of our time!

Pilar Diez spoke passionately about the injustice through the years as men overshadowed and took credit for the discoveries and innovations of women. Rosalind Franklin whose contributions to the discovery of DNA structure went unappreciated and unrecognised during her time. Discoveries which eventually led to the correct definition of the double helix.

In the words of Ana Dionisio “Marie Curies’ legacy continues to inspire countless women to pursue careers in science and engineering.” The discoverer of Polonium and Radium and the first woman to win a Nobel Prize those words could not be truer.

It couldn’t be clearer how the fiery, defiant, and innovating women who were the first to blaze trails in their fields have inspired the women of FA Bio to express their creativity and innovation in their careers.

Angela de Manzanos-Guinot, listed without hesitation just a few of the women inventors who have provided inspiration. Ada Lovelace considered the first computer programmer, Katherine Johnson the mathematician who calculated the trajectory for Americas first space trip, Hedy Lamarr who invented Wi-Fi and of course fellow Spanish scientist Margarita Salas inventor of a faster, simpler, and more reliable way to replicate trace amounts of DNA into quantities large enough for full genomic testing. Angela and Kerry O’Donnelly Weaver have continued the trailblazing of women inventors with their patented SporSenZ technology used to study and collect microbial isolates from crop fields. The technology mimics the plants exudate to attract bioactive microbes.  The scientific team at FA Bio then characterises these to discover superior active ingredients for bio fungicide and biostimulants. This technology and the resulting discoveries are being used in the development of bioproducts for a more sustainable tomorrow.

Meegan Scipio, Office and Operations Administrator

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