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Production of a Value-Added Crop for Greater Human Nutrition

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2011-02615
Agency Tracking Number: 2011-02615
Amount: $460,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.5
Solicitation Number: USDA-NIFA-SBIR-00339
Solicitation Year: 2011
Award Year: 2011
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
1500 Hayes Dr
Manhattan, KS 66502-
United States
DUNS: 093504384
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Mark Elless
 Director of Technology
 (785) 587-8200
Business Contact
 Michael Blaylock
Title: President
Phone: (703) 961-8700
Research Institution

The U.S. population has a deficit of dietary calcium that represents a serious challenge to public health. Many consumers, however, find current methods of increasing dietary calcium to be inconvenient, costly, or unpalatable. This SBIR Phase II proposal seeks to increase calcium levels in lettuce, a specialty crop that already comprises a significant part of the average U.S. diet. Successful Phase I results included demonstration of the ability to provide up to 150 mg of calcium per serving of Bibb lettuce, a level high enough to qualify the lettuce as a "good" source of calcium under FDA guidelines and more than eight times the amount of calcium available in commercial lettuce today, using a combination of bioengineering and novel hydroponic techniques. Moreover, most of the calcium in the lettuce is present in a bioavailable form that is efficiently processed by the body. In Phase II, elite commercial lettuce varieties provided by a leading commercial seed company will be transformed, hydroponic growing protocols will be optimized, a pilot demonstration will be conducted at a commercial hydroponic lettuce grower, and product quality testing including taste testing will be conducted by a university partner. Successful completion of the project will lay the foundation for introduction of a new value-added crop that provides better nutrition for consumers and a new source of income for agricultural producers. Planned commercialization activities include marketing of the calcium-fortified lettuce at regional farmers' markets, followed by nationwide distribution through grocery chains and specialty food stores.

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

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