Apr 30, 2015
Harvard fruit project included in USDA nanotechnology grants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA)announced more than $3.8 million in funding to support grants focused on using nanotechnology to find solutions to societal challenges such as food security, nutrition, food safety and environmental protection. The awards were made through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), which is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“Nanoscale science, engineering, and technology embrace opportunities in a broad range of critical challenges facing agriculture and food systems,” said NIFA Director, Sonny Ramaswamy. “Advances in nanotechnology help secure a healthy food supply by enabling cost-effective methods for the early detection of insects, diseases, and other contaminants; improve plant and animal breeding; and create high value-added products of nano-biomaterials for food and non-food applications.”

Past projects include a Cornell University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute venture that led to the development of a new nanotechnology that could keep bacteria from sticking to medical equipment and food processing machinery. A project from Harvard School of Public Health is investigating the effectiveness of a chemical-free, nanotechnology-based method for the inactivation of pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms on the surface of fruits and vegetables.

Fiscal year 2014 projects include:

  • The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, $496,192
  • University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, $496,180
  • University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, Kentucky, $450,000
  • University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, $444,200
  • North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, $149,714
  • Rutgers University, New Brunswick. New Jersey, $450,000
  • Pennsylvania State University, University Park, University Park, Pennsylvania, $447,788
  • West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, $496,168
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, $450,100

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