Grants support development of nanotechnology in food applicationsUSDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has made available more than $3.8 million in funding to support grants that will focus on using nanotechnology to find solutions to challenges such as food security, nutrition and food safety.

"Nanoscale science, engineering, and technology embrace opportunities in a broad range of critical challenges facing agriculture and food systems" said Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director. "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."

According to USDA, previous 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.

The Fiscal year 2014 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