Green, home-grown solutions for water sanitation

OptimusBio, a spin-out company from the CSIR, manufactures biological products that contain active, beneficial bacteria from the genus Bacillus. The CSIR has been developing Bacillus-containing products for a number of years and has built up a database of Bacillus organisms, and knowledge on the production and formulation of the bacteria. To optimise value creation from this platform, a decision was taken to commercialise the technology through OptimusBio.

“The green technology sphere in which OptimusBio competes is aimed at ensuring food, health and water security solutions that are environmentally sustainable. One product includes special bacteria used in aquaculture that improve fish production and minimise negative environmental impact. Another improves the quality of life for those in rural areas by remediating neglected pit latrines or maintaining the bio-activity in currently used latrines or septic tank systems. There are also products that assist with sustainable agro industries by providing biological methods of pest control and plant growth. Optimus Bio also has a product range that contributes towards the broader responsibilities brought by urban effluent load in the form of biological products for sewage treatment plants and domestic eco-friendly detergents. These products have been developed and manufactured locally, with indigenous biologicals, and are providing employment in the biotechnology industry.

Application of the agile development methodology is paying dividends for the fledgling company, which was spun out of the CSIR in 2014. The company already offers a diverse product range and its product development cycles have been reduced to between three and six months from a previous 18 to 24 months. Customers and end users are closely involved in the development cycle, often in a co-development model, which builds customer loyalty and ensures that products are fit for purpose.