USDA grants to fund nanotechnology research

By Joseph James Whitworth contact

- Last updated on GMT

Awards were made through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill
Awards were made through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill
Funding of more than $3.8m to support nanotechnology research has been made available by the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

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.

Related topics: Industry news, Nanotechnology

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