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SBIR Phase I: Dual enzyme system to prevent food waste caused by oxygen

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2208721
Agency Tracking Number: 2208721
Amount: $256,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: BT
Solicitation Number: NSF 21-562
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-01-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-12-31
Small Business Information
334 Hecla Street
Lake Linden, MI 49945
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Ellen Campbell
 (906) 296-1000
Business Contact
 Ellen Campbell
Phone: (906) 296-1000
Research Institution

The broader impact of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is development of new technology for safe, recyclable, and effective packaging.The system works by protecting packaged contents from damage from oxygen (technically termed oxidation).An estimated 25% of the world’s food supply is lost due to food spoilage, with oxidation a major contributor to the problem. Technology that contributes to food security is a compelling objective in the 21st century. Today’s methods of protection from oxygen require metals or complex and expensive barrier materials. These options inhibit efficient recycling. Reduction in packaging waste is an increasing goal.Industries agree that current products for oxygen protection are not meeting needs or consumer preferences. This proposal describes a solution based on a pair of enzymes that use minute quantities of sugar to consume oxygen by producing a modified sugar and water.Enzymes perform a specific function (catalyze a chemical reaction) and are inherently environmentally friendly.For many foods, the sugar in the food itself powers the system._x000D_
The proposed project seeks to determine the viability of a dual enzyme, oxygen removal system for preservation of food quality in real world packaging applications.Prototype materials have demonstrated sufficient performance to justify this research, and a series of technical objectives have been defined.Objectives include determining the oxygen removal activity in a variety of containers and designing optimal product configurations in different containers.A second objective is to determine system performance at various temperatures.Active shelf-life of the system – activity over time – needs to be evaluated.Defining these criteria is required in order to determine the commercial potential of the technology.Enzyme activity assays are key tasks for all objectives.Oxygen removal effectiveness will be determined by an industry standard for measuring oxygen incursion into sealed packages.The proprietary cell lines developed for expression of the enzymes in the system have been screened for production potential at commercial scale.All required enzymes will be produced in house under previously developed standard operating procedures for fermentation and purification. Interfacing with developers of new, environmentally benign packaging materials is ongoing._x000D_
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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