It will support grants focused on using nanotechnology to find solutions to challenges such as food security, nutrition, food safety, and environmental protection .
The University of Massachusetts has been given $444,200 to develop a platform for pathogen detection in foods superior to current detection method in terms of analytical time, sensitivity, and accuracy using a label-free, surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) mapping technique.
Rutgers University will get $450,000 for a national survey to examine the acceptance of food nanotechnology; examine the acceptable characteristics of nano-enabled smart food packaging; and examine how consumers use visuals to interpret nanotechnology concepts.
Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director, said nanoscale science, engineering, and technology embrace opportunities in a range of challenges facing agriculture and food systems.
“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 work by Cornell University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute that led to the development of a nanotechnology to prevent bacteria sticking to food processing machinery.