The USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture will provide $3.8 million in grants to Universities to study nanotechnology's role in food security, food safety, nutrition and environmental protection, the agency announced Monday.
The awards were made through NIFA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, 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" NIFA director Sonny Ramaswamy said in a statement.
"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.
See the USDA NIFA nanotechnology ag research grant recipient list >>
Fiscal year 2014 NIFA nanotech grant projects include:
• The University of Georgia, Athens, Ga., $496,192
• University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa., $496,180
• University of Kentucky Research Foundation, Lexington, Ky., $450,000
• University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass., $444,200
• North Dakota State University, Fargo, N.D., $149,714
• Rutgers University, New Brunswick. N.J., $450,000
• Pennsylvania State University, University Park, University Park, Pa., $447,788
• West Virginia University, Morgantown, W.Va., $496,168
• University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wis., $450,100
USDA's NIFA late last week provided three grants designed to improve food security by focusing research on minimizing animal loss due to livestock diseases or pests. Those awards were also made possible by funding in the 2014 Farm Bill.