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Project Grant


Grant Description
Sbir Phase I: Dual Enzyme System to Prevent Food Waste Caused by Oxygen -The Broader Impact of This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I Project Is Development of New Technology for Safe, Recyclable, and Effective Packaging.

The System Works by Protecting Packaged Contents from Damage from Oxygen (Technically Termed Oxidation). An Estimated 25% of the World's Food Supply Is Lost Due to Food Spoilage, with Oxidation a Major Contributor to the Problem. Technology That Contributes to Food Security Is a Compelling Objective in the 21st Century.

Today's Methods of Protection from Oxygen Require Metals or Complex and Expensive Barrier Materials. These Options Inhibit Efficient Recycling. Reduction in Packaging Waste Is an Increasing Goal. Industries Agree That Current Products for Oxygen Protection Are Not Meeting Needs or Consumer Preferences.

This Proposal Describes a Solution Based on a Pair of Enzymes That Use Minute Quantities of Sugar to Consume Oxygen by Producing a Modified Sugar and Water. Enzymes Perform a Specific Function (Catalyze a Chemical Reaction) and Are Inherently Environmentally Friendly. For Many Foods, the Sugar in the Food Itself Powers the System.

The Proposed Project Seeks to Determine the Viability of a Dual Enzyme, Oxygen Removal System for Preservation of Food Quality in Real World Packaging Applications. Prototype Materials Have Demonstrated Sufficient Performance to Justify This Research, and a Series of Technical Objectives Have Been Defined. Objectives Include Determining the Oxygen Removal Activity in a Variety of Containers and Designing Optimal Product Configurations in Different Containers.

A Second Objective Is to Determine System Performance at Various Temperatures. Active Shelf-Life of the System - Activity Over Time - Needs to Be Evaluated. Defining These Criteria Is Required in Order to Determine the Commercial Potential of the Technology. Enzyme Activity Assays Are Key Tasks for All Objectives.

Oxygen Removal Effectiveness Will Be Determined by an Industry Standard for Measuring Oxygen Incursion into Sealed Packages. The Proprietary Cell Lines Developed for Expression of the Enzymes in the System Have Been Screened for Production Potential at Commercial Scale. All Required Enzymes Will Be Produced in House Under Previously Developed Standard Operating Procedures for Fermentation and Purification.

Interfacing with Developers of New, Environmentally Benign Packaging Materials Is Ongoing. This Award Reflects NSF's Statutory Mission and Has Been Deemed Worthy of Support through Evaluation Using the Foundation's Intellectual Merit and Broader Impacts Review Criteria.
Awarding / Funding Agency
Place of Performance
Lake Linden, Michigan 49945-1303 United States
Geographic Scope
Single Zip Code
Related Opportunity
Nitrate Elimination was awarded Project Grant 2208721 worth $256,000 from National Science Foundation in January 2023 with work to be completed primarily in Lake Linden Michigan United States. The grant has a duration of 1 year and was awarded through assistance program 47.084 NSF Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships.

SBIR Details

Research Type
SBIR Phase I
SBIR Phase I: Dual enzyme system to prevent food waste caused by oxygen
The broader impact of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is development of new technology for safe, recyclable, and effective packaging.The system works by protecting packaged contents from damage from oxygen (technically termed oxidation).An estimated 25% of the world’s food supply is lost due to food spoilage, with oxidation a major contributor to the problem. Technology that contributes to food security is a compelling objective in the 21st century. Today’s methods of protection from oxygen require metals or complex and expensive barrier materials. These options inhibit efficient recycling. Reduction in packaging waste is an increasing goal.Industries agree that current products for oxygen protection are not meeting needs or consumer preferences. This proposal describes a solution based on a pair of enzymes that use minute quantities of sugar to consume oxygen by producing a modified sugar and water.Enzymes perform a specific function (catalyze a chemical reaction) and are inherently environmentally friendly.For many foods, the sugar in the food itself powers the system._x000D_ _x000D_ The proposed project seeks to determine the viability of a dual enzyme, oxygen removal system for preservation of food quality in real world packaging applications.Prototype materials have demonstrated sufficient performance to justify this research, and a series of technical objectives have been defined.Objectives include determining the oxygen removal activity in a variety of containers and designing optimal product configurations in different containers.A second objective is to determine system performance at various temperatures.Active shelf-life of the system – activity over time – needs to be evaluated.Defining these criteria is required in order to determine the commercial potential of the technology.Enzyme activity assays are key tasks for all objectives.Oxygen removal effectiveness will be determined by an industry standard for measuring oxygen incursion into sealed packages.The proprietary cell lines developed for expression of the enzymes in the system have been screened for production potential at commercial scale.All required enzymes will be produced in house under previously developed standard operating procedures for fermentation and purification. Interfacing with developers of new, environmentally benign packaging materials is ongoing._x000D_ _x000D_ This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
Topic Code
Solicitation Number
NSF 21-562


Last Modified 1/24/23

Period of Performance
Start Date
End Date
100% Complete

Funding Split
Federal Obligation
Non-Federal Obligation
Total Obligated
100.0% Federal Funding
0.0% Non-Federal Funding

Activity Timeline

Interactive chart of timeline of amendments to 2208721

Additional Detail

SAI Number
Award ID URI
Awardee Classifications
Small Business
Awarding Office
Funding Office
Awardee UEI
Awardee CAGE
Performance District
Not Applicable

Budget Funding

Federal Account Budget Subfunction Object Class Total Percentage
Research and Related Activities, National Science Foundation (049-0100) General science and basic research Grants, subsidies, and contributions (41.0) $256,000 100%
Modified: 1/24/23