Leaders of the Global Food Ventures initiative in MnDRIVE have awarded funding for six new projects and renewed funding for nine of the 19 projects funded in 2014. The projects include awards to scientists in the university's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; College of Veterinary Medicine and School of Public Health.
The newly funded projects and their principal investigators are:
Commercialization of Minnesota-grown hazelnuts: investigating quality and incentives to grow and purchase American and hybrid hazelnuts
The objective of this project is to identify and address barriers to expanding Minnesota's hazelnut industry. Hazelnuts are a healthy, local food and offer new economic opportunities for the food industry and farmers, while providing continuous living landscape cover that protects Minnesota's soil and water resources. This project will help growers better manage harvests by identifying flavor and chemical constituents and protocols to maintain best quality. It will also support consumer preference testing under different roasting and processing conditions. Lastly, it will assist industry expansion by identifying and charting key steps needed to expand supply and increase profitability.
Donald Wyse, CFANS
Building an Integrated Aquaponic System to Meet Health, Nutrition and Employment Objectives in Local Minority Communities
This project will design and test aquaponics options for implementation at family or community level with Hmong communities in the Twin Cities area as a pilot. Project partners will select, implement and together with Hmong community partners, evaluate the viability of the different options using social, economic and environmental criteria. We will evaluate innovations related to the use of algae and food waste as a source of food for fish, control sensors to aid in the management of the system and an appropriate scale of production to meet nutrition needs as well as providing enterprise development opportunities in minority communities.
Dean Current, CFANS
Advancing Microbial Inoculants for Improved Crop Productivity
Microbes represent the new frontier for achieving significant and sustainable increases in crop yields. Our goal is to commercialize microbial inoculants for enhancing crop yields in diverse production systems. To accomplish this, we have developed and continue to develop microbial mixtures based upon systematic understanding of individual microbial characteristics. Commercial development also demands rigorous field data documenting effectiveness on diverse crops as well as information on inoculum production capacities. The proposed work will accomplish these tasks and, in partnership with external collaborators, provide information necessary to secure external investment and support development of a comprehensive Phase I business plan.
Linda Kinkel, CFANS
Developing new biosecurity systems to mitigate the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild birds
Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) was introduced to the first flock of turkeys in Minnesota in late February, 2015. Since then, through the movement of migratory birds, infection of local resident birds and biosecurity that is not adequately addressing the route of introduction, more than 50 flocks have been infected in Minnesota and surrounding states. This project will examine wild birds in the region of and on farms as potential sources and vectors, look for environmental concentrations of HPAIV, model farm and local environmental attributes to understand risk and finally, develop evidence based biosecurity to address HPAIV introduction and spread.
Carol Cardona, CVM
Tools to assess and promote implementation of strategies for prevention of foodborne salmonellosis in the food chain using source attribution modeling
Despite efforts made by industry, state and federal administration and general public, salmonellosis remains one of the most important foodborne diseases in Minnesota and in the United States. This project will promote the implementation of coordinated control and prevention strategies focusing on the different sources of Salmonella infection in its complex epidemiological cycle (livestock, food) by means of end user-adapted training tools. These tools, developed using data from MN, will help to demonstrate the Salmonella-associated risk managed by the different players in the food production system and the impact of their practices on the next level in the production chain.
Julio Alvarez, CVM
Developing Electronic Audio-Visual Food Safety Training for Limited English-Speaking Workers in the Food Service Industry
The goal of this proposal is to develop a user-friendly, interactive food safety-training program tailored for low literacy and limited English workers, a critical segment of the Minnesota food industry workforce. The program will be designed and developed using iOS and/or Android applications (apps). This app will supplement live training, and will be organized by topics covered in the food safety certification class. Learners will use this app to prepare for the food manager certification class and receive rapid feedback on their understanding through voiceover multiple choice questions, selection of a corresponding image on the screen, or other audio-visual cues.
Craig Hedberg, School of Public Health