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SBIR Phase I: Exploration of Plasma Activated Water Systems in the Dairy Industry
Phone: (208) 473-1333
Phone: (208) 473-1333
The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) project centers on the possibility opened by plasma-activated water in dairy sanitation. Plasma activated water has several advantages: it is reusable and reduces the need to buy, store, and dispose of chemicals, it will not face antimicrobial resistance, unlike chemicals, and could be a faster disinfectant. In addition to replacing chemical disinfectants, plasma activated water could prove to be fast enough to allow for disinfecting the milking unit in-between individual cows, which should reduce the spread of mastitis within a herd, reducing the farmer's costs in terms of medicine, increased labor, and culling. By using plasma activated water as part of a milking system, cleaning could be automated as well as target spores in farm environments. The resulting reduction in costs, infection rate, manual labor & strain, and increase in milk quality, could revolutionize the dairy industry. This SBIR Phase 1 project proposes to research a method whereby plasma activated water replaces chemical disinfectants used in dairy milking machines. The dairy industry is facing two major problems relating to milking machines: first, a manual labor shortage, and secondly an ever-present threat of mastitis, an infection estimated to cost the industry $1B annually. These two problems come to a head at the milking machine, as current methods require cows to be manually cleaned before milking. The goal of this project is to explore whether plasma activated water could be an effective replacement for teat dips, aiming to design a self-cleaning milking attachment for existing machines, and clean the cows with PAW prior to milking. In Phase I, the focus will be on building a basic prototype to check sanitation capabilities, and compatibility with a farm environment. Future research would include a longer-term study of animals and track infection rates before and after. 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. *