USDA is investing more than $5.2 million to support nanotechnology research at 11 universities. The universities will research ways nanotechnology can be used to improve food safety, increase crop yields, manage agricultural pests and more.

“Nanoscale science, engineering, and technology are key pieces of our investment in innovation to ensure an adequate and safe food supply for a growing global population,” says USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Universities receiving funding include Auburn University, Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Central Florida, University of Georgia, Iowa State University, University of Massachusetts, Mississippi State University, Lincoln University, Clemson University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and University of Wisconsin.

With this funding, Auburn University proposes to improve pathogen monitoring throughout the food supply chain by creating a user-friendly system that can detect multiple foodborne pathogens simultaneously, accurately, cost effectively, and rapidly. Experts in nanotechnology, molecular biology, vaccines and poultry diseases at the University of Wisconsin will work to develop nanoparticle-based poultry vaccines to prevent emerging poultry infections.

A full list of projects can be found online.