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April 28, 2015

USDA Announces $3.8 Million Awarded in Grants for Nano Research

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced on April 27, 2015, that it awarded more than $3.8 million in grants “focused on using nanotechnology to find solutions to societal challenges such as food security, nutrition, food safety, and environmental protection.”  The grants were made through NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), which is authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.  According to USDA’s press release, past projects include a Cornell University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute venture that led to the development of a new nanotechnology that could prevent bacteria from sticking to medical equipment and food processing machinery, and a Harvard School of Public Health project 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.  The press release lists the following fiscal year 2014 projects:

  •  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, Pennsylvania, $447,788;
  •  West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, $496,168; and
  •  University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, $450,100.