The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) today announced 13 grants totaling $4.6 million for research on the next generation of agricultural technologies and systems to meet the growing demand for food, fuel, and fiber. The grants are funded through NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.
"Nanotechnology is being rapidly implemented in medicine, electronics, energy, and biotechnology, and it has huge potential to enhance the agricultural sector," said NIFA Director Sonny Ramaswamy. "NIFA research investments can help spur nanotechnology-based improvements to ensure global nutritional security and prosperity in rural communities."
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative is America's flagship competitive grants program for foundational and translational research, education, and extension projects in the food and agricultural sciences.
These grants are awarded under the AFRI Foundational: Agriculture Systems and Technology program. Funded projects support nanotechnology-based solutions that improve food production, nutrition, sustainable agriculture, and food safety.
Fiscal year 2016 grants being announced include:
Wichita State University, Wichita, Kansas, $340,000
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, $444,550
University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, $150,000
North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota, $149,000
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, $455,000
Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, $450,200
Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, $402,550
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, $405,055
Gordon Research Conferences, West Kingston, Rhode Island, $45,000
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, $450,200
Utah State University, Logan, Utah, $450,200
The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., $450,200
Among the grants, a University of Pennsylvania project will engineer cellulose nanomaterials with high toughness for potential use in building materials, automotive components, and consumer products. A University of Nevada-Las Vegas project will develop a rapid, sensitive test to detect Salmonella typhimurium to enhance food supply safety.
Previously funded grants include an Iowa State University project in which a low-cost and disposable biosensor made out of nanoparticle graphene that can detect pesticides in soil was developed. The biosensor also has the potential for use in the biomedical, environmental, and food safety fields. University of Minnesota researchers created a sponge that uses nanotechnology to quickly absorb mercury, as well as bacterial and fungal microbes from polluted water. The sponge can be used on tap water, industrial wastewater, and in lakes. It converts contaminants into nontoxic waste that can be disposed in a landfill.
National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Posted: Jul 21, 2017.