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SBIR Phase I: Budbreak Delay Gel Technology for Frost Management and Mechanization of Vineyards

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1938235
Agency Tracking Number: 1938235
Amount: $225,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: BT
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-01-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-12-31
Small Business Information
United States
DUNS: 116762694
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Yes
Principal Investigator
 Manfredo Seufferheld
 (217) 979-3052
Business Contact
 Manfredo Seufferheld
Phone: (217) 979-3052
Research Institution

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is to create value for grape farmers by reducing crop damage from frost by delaying the time when the buds break in spring. The innovation proposed will reduce the costs of frost management, decrease yield loss, and improve quality. Delaying bud break will also assist in labor management by increasing the operating window for optimal shoot removal. Grapes are the highest value fruit crop in the U.S. and the sixth largest crop globally. Grape production is highly influenced by the weather, with frost damage among the top weather hazards. Success in the grape market opens the door to deployment with many other fruit crops. This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will allow grape growers to reduce frost damage and maximize resources for mechanization. This approach integrates many studies, including: biophysical and biochemical factors influencing the endogenous regulation of bud break, resistance to cold injury, and polymer sciences. Preliminary studies indicate the ability to resist wet conditions and regulate bud break by 10 to 14 days. If the aims of this project are achieved, the technology will contribute significantly to farmers’ abilities to cope with present and future threats of spring frost, with current mechanization and available labor limitations, and will be the foundation for continued innovation in tools that address current and emerging challenges of climate change. The project will demonstrate the feasibility of the spray through a series of in situ applications with partners in Washington and Illinois. In addition, the project will launch data analytics studies to guide the application timing of bud break delay technology by testing sensors for farm microclimate data acquisition and gaining access to critical data sources. 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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