Projects

    Funding entity/Industrial partner: MnDRIVE Global Food Venture, General Mills, Midwest Dairy Association. NSF
  • Date :2014-2018
  • Number of projects in this area: 3
  • Features: Technoloogy available for commercialization (US Patent Pending)

Rapid microbial detection for food safety

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year roughly 48 million people (1 in 6 Americans) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. A 2010 report of the Pew Charitable Trusts estimates that foodborne diseases cost the U.S. roughly $152 billion per year in medical bills and lost workdays.  Early and rapid detection of microbial food spoilage would have broad and deep impact on healthcare and the food industry.  In one hand, it can prevent food poisoning and enhance food safety, and in the other hand reduce food loss by allowing early intervention to delay deterioration.

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    Funding entity/Partner: LCCMR, Minnesota Invasive Teresterial Plants and Pest Species Center
  • Date : 2015-2017
  • Features :

Early Diagnostics of Oak Wilt

The purpose of this project is to developa new assay technology for rapid and early detection of the invasive fungus Ceratocystis fagacearum, causal organism of oak wilt. Early diagnosis of infected trees will help stop the spread of the disease and minimize the inherent cost for municipalities, counties, private property owners and the State. A study on Minnesota oak trees published in 2011 revealed that 76–266 thousand trees will be infected by the oak wilt fungus during the period 2007–2016, with discounted tree removal cost of $18–60 million ($400-500 per tree). Preventing spread of the disease requires early detection of the causal fungal agent with affordable diagnostic tools. However current methods used for diagnosis rely on either fungal isolation from symptomatic tissue or DNA amplification from sapwood.  Both methods have significant limitations. In addition to the cost for the assay ($59/sample), the standard fungal isolation method requires 1-2 weeks for growth of the pathogen on an agar medium, is unreliable during the dormant season of the host, and performs poorly on tissues that have been colonized by other microorganisms. These limitations present challenges for tree care companies, land managers and others who remove infected trees during the winter. Although, PCR-based tests provide a better sensitivity, their high cost ($120/sample) and labor-intensive protocols limit their use to problematic samples or dead tissue.

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    Funding entity/Partner: Minnesota Invasive Terresterial Plants and Pest Center, LCCMR (State)
  • Date : 2015-2017
  • Features :

Nanotechnology solutions for water cleaning

We have a number of projects that aim at cleaning water from a varietty of metal and organic pollutants, with an initial focus on mercury. The urgent need for cost-effective mercury removal technologies is clearly justified by the major ad global threat that mercury causes to aquatic life but also to human health by entering the food chain. Two thirds of the waters on Minnesota’s 2004 Impaired Waters List are impaired because of mercury contamination that ranges from 0.27 to 12.43 ng/L (the EPA limit is 2 ng/L). Mercury contamination of lake waters results in mercury accumulation in fish, leading the Minnesota Department of Health to establish fish consumption guidelines. A number of fish species store-bought or caught in Minnesota lakes are not advised for consumption more than once a week or even once a month. In Minnesota's North Shore, 10% of tested newborns had mercury concentrations above the EPA reference dose for methylmercury (the form of mercury found in fish). This means that some pregnant women in the Lake Superior region, and in Minnesota, have mercury exposures that need to be reduced.

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    Funding entity/Partner:
  • Date :
  • Features: Technoloogy available for commercialization (US Patent Pending)