Special Reports

Osprey Biotechnics gets call from Crist

SARASOTA — Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday contacted Sarasota-based Osprey Biotechnics to learn more about a bacteria it manufactures that could treat the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Osprey Biotechnics manufactures a bacteria compound called Munox that company officials say is capable of cleaning up oil contaminated coastal water and sand.

Victoria Finley, vice president of business development for Osprey, said Crist called the company at about 10 a.m. Thursday to get more information on the product and how it works.

“We did discuss the technology and the potential to assist in the oil cleanup,” she said. “He expressed great interest and did indicate that he would use opportunities to make Osprey and the Munox formulation known to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.”

Munox consumes, digests and breaks down the oil into harmless substances such as water and minute amounts of carbon dioxide, company officials say.

On Tuesday, Finley and Osprey’s Executive Vice President Lauren Danielson told the Bradenton Herald that they submitted suggestions to the governor’s office, BP and several elected officials about their product with no response.

“We are thankful that Osprey Biotechnics got on the governor’s radar and that he took the time to personally make an effort and show interest to an innovative solution right here in his own backyard,” Finley said Thursday.

Representatives from Sen. Bill Nelson’s office and Rep. Vern Buchanan’s office also contacted Osprey Biotechnics on Wednesday, Finley said.

Bryan Gulley, a press secretary for Nelson, said staff requested more information from Osprey on what assistance they are looking for in getting their product noticed.

“They were going to send us some information on what they’re requesting our office to do,” Gulley said. “Once we evaluate that we will contact the appropriate officials.”

It remains unclear whether officials at BP have taken note of an application Osprey submitted to BP regarding the potential Munox may have in cleaning up the oil spill.

“As you can imagine we’re getting hundreds of inquiries a day,” said Mark Proegler, a spokesman for BP. “I put in the calls (to check on Osprey’s application) but I haven’t heard back.”