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Bee-friendly dust-free seed coating for pollinator health

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2017-33610-26740
Agency Tracking Number: 2017-00351
Amount: $99,993.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.13
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2017
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2017-06-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2018-08-14
Small Business Information
737 CONCORD AVENUE, Cambridge, MA, 02138-0000
DUNS: 557201394
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Xinhua Li
 VP Chemistry
 (617) 621-8500
Business Contact
 Kateri Paul
Title: VP Government Programs
Phone: (617) 621-8500
Research Institution
Pollinators, typically honey bees, are critical for marketable yields of around 90 crops, including apples, blueberries, cucumbers and almonds. Honey bees, however, have been under considerable pressure from Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), leading to unprecedented and unsustainable colony losses. Pesticide exposure, especially neonicotinoids in seed coating, is one key stressor causing the general declining health of honey bees based on research in the US and Europe. This proposal will address the USDA's presidential priority area to reduce pesticide exposure to bees by using dust-free seed coatings. The proposed coating will adhere well to the seed surface forming a smooth and abrasion-resistant film. In addition, a surface-active additive will be incorporated to provide a lubricious surface. The proposed seed coating will significantly reduce the risk of pesticide exposure to bees in the following ways: 1) The dust-free seed coating will not release pesticides to the air, protecting honey bees and other pollinators from unintended pesticide exposure; 2) The proposed seed coating is self-lubricating, eliminating the need for lubricant powders (e.g. talcum powder, graphite, or fluency agent) during planting, further reducing off-target drift of applied pesticides that are toxic to bees; and 3) The new coating technology may reduce the total amount of pesticides in the coating by >10% due to improved targeting efficiency.

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

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