When it comes to micro biology, one often tends to think of shows like the Big Bang Theory. Yet, Newcastle is home to its own microbiologist and he is on a mission.
Eddie Honeyball grows bacteria and fungi for the control of plant pests and plant diseases. “I am trying to get people to move away from using chemicals as it isn’t healthy. If you put poison on plants, it doesn’t go away, it gets ingested.”
Honeyball explains that bacteria and fungi play an instrumental role in the well being of plant life. “In soil, you need micro-organisms to break up the nutrients. Because, what happens after a few years with chemicals, is that it kills the micro organisms and you get what they call dead soil.”
Yet, through bacteria and fungi, one’s soil can remain healthy and ensure plant life flourishes. It can also kill pests such as nematodes, which eats the roots of plants.
But how does Honeyball grow bacteria and fungi?
He gets the necessary vials with the bacteria. “I then take a touch of the bacteria, place it in a petri dish, spreading it gently on algae.”
Once it takes to the algae, Honeyball allows it to grow enough before moving to a growth medium. From there, he then moves it to a bigger container and then moves it to a bioreactor. Thus, building up enough of a supply to assist several farmers and garden enthusiasts.
“I grow the bacteria at certain temperatures and times, to ensure they are strong enough.”
While a time-consuming exercise, Honeyball explains this is more than a job for him. It is a deep-seated passion. “I fly all over the country for it and I am even starting to go to neighbouring African countries to educate people about the importance of bacteria.”
Having studied microbiology after school, due to his love for constant learning and micro-organisms, he initially took another route as a career. “I got back into 13 years ago. It is a really interesting line of work and I absolutely love it.”
Running his business Bio Control, nature’s own remedy, Honeyball is well on his way to bringing the true sense of organic life back.