Cork student Johannah Pigott scooped the Teagasc award at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition (BTYSTE) 2022.

A transition year student from Colaiste Treasa, Kanturk, Co Cork, Johannah’s project looked at the potential of nematodes to replace chemical pesticides.

Johannah’s project was titled ‘Infectivity of the entomopathogenic nematode Steinernema feltiae at different temperatures’.

She assessed the potential to use entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) as an alternative to traditional pesticides for the control of plant insect pests.

Motivated by sustainability

A budding horticulturalist, Johannah’s project was motivated by the need to produce food in a more sustainable manner.

“I believe that EPN could be implemented in Irish farms, households and garden centres as a safer, more reliable alternative to the pesticides being used presently,” Johannah explained.

Her project examined the optimal temperature at which to apply EPN. She maintained that her research findings will assist in the sustainable management of insect pests.

As well as winning the Teagasc prize, Johannah’s project also took third place in the biological and ecological (individual) category at the event.

Her teacher Joanne Corkery acknowledged the advice provided by Dr Thomae Kakouli-Duarte at Institute of Technology Carlow.