Automated Strawberry Calyx and Defects Removal Technology for Improving Food Quality and Safety and Minimizing Field Labor.

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2014-00588
Agency Tracking Number: 2014-00588
Amount: $99,998.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.5
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2014
Award Year: 2014
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
14227 Reed Farm Way, North Potomac, MD, 20878-3807
DUNS: 360938893
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Xin Chen
 Director of Engineering
 (301) 279-0618
Business Contact
 Lingling Xie
Title: CEO
Phone: (301) 279-0618
Research Institution
Strawberries are the 2nd largest non-citrus fruit crop in the U.S., trailing grapes and surpassing apples (USDA 2012). With strawberries harvested for processing (as a value-added food ingredient), the calyx (the stem cap with green crown leaves) must be removed to avoid having inedible leaves in the food product. The current in-field labor intensive de-capping process using cutting tools risks finger laceration and food cross-contamination. The current defect sorting practice is labor intensive and prone to errors and human fatigue.The overall goal of this research is to revolutionize strawberry processing practices by moving the calyx removal process from the field to the processing plant and automating the defect sorting process. This change will be accomplished by developing an automated, imaging-guided calyx cutting and defect detection technology featuring bladeless high-pressure thin water knives. The Phase I investigation will obtain needed major technical parameters and and will lead to full development in Phase II for a prototype system.This research will lead to a new technology that will revolutionize the strawberry processing industry by huge savings in field labor, while enhancing the quality for value-added products, and worker/food safety.

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

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