Fresh From the Field, July 25, 2019

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Fresh From the Field is a weekly album showcasing transformative impacts made by partners supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Editor: Falita Liles                                                                                                 July 25, 2019

Success Stories 

ePaint Serving Biofouling Solutions. Close up of biological fouling (biofouling) on painted in blue. NIFA  SBIR Impacts.

ePaint Serving Biofouling Solutions

ePaint is a company located in East Falmouth, Massachusetts, that has received support from the NIFA’s Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR).

“Biofouling” is where marine organisms attach to hard surfaces, which is a major problem for marine aquaculture. A common solution is to use paint that contains copper since the copper will inhibit attachment to hard surfaces. The problem is that copper can accumulate in sediments and this poses environmental problems. ePaint has developed a soy-based resin that contains a photosensitizer that, in the presence of blue light, causes the formation of peroxides. The peroxides are short lived but they are effective in deterring attachment by marine tunicates, sponges, and other organisms to hard surfaces. ePaint is working with shellfish farmers in New England and salmon farmers in Canada, Norway, and Chile and are in the process of commercializing their anti-fouling paint.

Food poisoning related terms, salmonella, e coli etc, in a word cloud with magnifying glass. Getty Image. USDA NIFA Impacts.

Minimize Food Waste and Maximize Food Safety

Operational Technologies Corporation in San Antonio, Texas received funding through NIFA's SBIR program  and has developed a highly sensitive and specific test strip for the major foodborne pathogens Campylobacter jejuni, Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica, and Salmonella typhimurium. This technology significantly reduces the time required to test pathogens in foods from 24-72 hours to approximately 30 minutes. The time saved to test pathogens may reduce the spread of pathogens and minimize food waste.

News Coverage

Caterpillar pest Codling moth crawls on a green apple. Getty Images. USDA NIFA Impacts.

Biocontrol Methods that use Natural Insect Pheromones

Ridge Quest is a Michigan Company located in Kent City. This area is known for apple and fruit production. A number of insect pests present serious problems for fruit orchards, with codling moth and obliquebanded leafroller being the most serious.

Traditionally, chemical pesticides have controlled these insects, but in recent years, resistance to the pesticides has increased and the toxicity of the pesticides has become a serious problem for beneficial insects. There is now greater interest in using biocontrol methods that use natural insect pheromones.

Ridge Quest has developed a device that quickly distributes pheromone-releasing devices, substantially reducing the cost of this biocontrol approach. Last year, the company produced 500,000 of these devices and plan to produce over one million devices next year. They also plan to expand their distribution to other apple and fruit growing regions in the country.

Tweet of the Week


NC Chicken Nuggets on Mars. NIFA Impacts.