2019 Starter Grants

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2019 Starter Grants

  • Creating Incremental Revenue from Industrial Cherry Wastes.  This translational research project applies a new valorization process to the recovery of high-value bioactive materials from cherry pits and other cherry waste streams. The compounds recovered from such a process may have the potential to serve as nutritional antioxidants or other in a variety of nutraceutical applications. This would provide additional revenue to cherry processors and reduce the waste in the industry.
  • Developing Fungal-Filters to Harvest Microalgae for High-Value Products. Microalgae produce a wide range of high-value nutraceutical and industrial materials.  Current methods of harvesting and processing them are complex and expensive. This project explores the feasibility of using fungal biofilm filters to capture and concentrate microalgae for industrial scale processing. (Gregory Bonito, Michigan State University)
  • Upcycling of Vermiculite Fines as Animal Feed Additives. Vermiculite is a layer-structured natural mineral. It was generally mined, beneficiated, and exfoliated to produce lightweight products for agricultural, insulation, and absorbent applications. This project seeks to develop the optimal processes and potential uses of these light vermiculite dusts and sludges as feed additives in commercial livestock and poultry operations. (Li Bowen, Michigan Technological University)
  • Electrophoresis Technology for Removing Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Water. This MTRAC Starter project aims to develop an innovative electrophoresis technology for efficiently removing per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in water.  The proposed electrophoresis method has multiple advantages over the existing technologies in treating PFAS-contaminated water, including efficiency, range of PFAS molecules removed and high adsorption capacity. (Qi Hua Fan, Michigan State University.
  • Transparent High-Barrier Films for Food Packaging. Transparent high-barrier packaging film is used to package organic, fresh, dried, and pre-cooked foods. To be effective in food preservation the film must provide a strong oxygen and moisture barrier. These films are typically biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) with a thin organic coating. This work explores the potential to improve the moisture barrier and other commercial properties through use of nano-clay additives in one of the layers using a novel and proprietary formulation process. (Krishnamurthy Jayaram, Michigan State University)
  • Research to Determine Agronomic Inputs Needed to Market New Wheat Lines from the MSU Wheat Breeding and Research Programs. The MSU Wheat Breeding Program has partnered with the MI Wheat Program to speed the development and release of new wheat lines that are adapted to MI and the Great Lakes region. In this commercially focused project, new wheat lines will be developed and assessed for their market based on a suite of agronomic factors including yield, disease resistance and resilience to weather extremes. (Dennis Pennington, Michigan State University)
  • Electrochemical Destruction of Per- and Poly-Fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Using Boron-Doped Diamond (BDD) Electrodes: Application Towards Concentrated Regenerate Solutions.  Electrochemical oxidation (EO) of PFAS with BDD electrodes has proven effective in destruction of PFAS. One main concern of EO with BDD electrodes is the high energy consumption and its associated costs. This work investigates the feasibility of varied current density for the EO-based degradation of PFASs in ion exchange regenerate solutions. Reduction of current density throughout the EO treatment process would reduce overall energy consumption without reducing performance. This could increase current efficiency and create a more economically viable EO procedure for degradation of PFASs. (Thomas Schuelke, Michigan State University)
  • Turfgrass Disease Management with Reduced Fungicide Application Rates Using Fungitoxic Adjuvants. The focus of this study is the control of anthracnose, dollar spot and snow mold disease in golf course applications.  These are three of the most important turf grass diseases in golf course applications. A series of fungitoxic adjuvants sill be applied with and without fungicides to assess commercial potential. (Joseph Vargas, Michigan State University)