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NIFA Invests Over $1.1M to Develop Commercial Innovations for Food Science and Nutrition

Assorted Fruit Sprayed With Natural Oil Formula
One of 11 awardees, Stixfresh USA, Inc., will test safe, natural essential-oil based formulas to learn their effectiveness in suppressing microbial spoilage of fresh fruit. Image courtesy of Getty Images.
KANSAS CITY, Mo., June 30, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced today an investment of over $1.1 million in grants to 11 U.S. small businesses to address emerging food safety, food processing and nutrition issues.

“NIFA’s Small Business Innovation Research program stimulates technological innovations in the private sector and strengthens the role of federal research and development in support of small businesses,” said NIFA director Dr. Carrie Castille.  “These investments will help our nation’s small businesses improve food science and nutrition through a variety of early stage research and development projects.”

Examples of the 11 projects awarded through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program’s Food Science and Nutrition priority area include:
  • Jun Innovations, Inc., Honolulu, Hawaii, will develop a proprietary, supercooling technology to preserve perishable probiotic products without cell damage and with extended shelf life ($100,000).
  • Stixfresh USA, Inc., of Tumwater, Washington, will test essential-oil based formulas to determine their effectiveness as a safe and natural way to suppress microbial spoilage of fresh fruit ($97,697).
  • Paragon Flavors, Inc., Belle Mead, New Jersey, will assess the viability of sprouting whole-grain rice to create nutritionally dense, sustainably enhanced, consumer-friendly food ingredients for packaged food products ($99,414).
SBIR fosters and encourages participation by women-owned and socially or economically disadvantaged small businesses. The next Phase 1 request for SBIR applications is scheduled to open in July 2021, with a deadline in October 2021. Learn more about USDA’s Small Business Innovation Research program.
NIFA invests in and advances agricultural research, education, and Extension across the nation to make transformative discoveries that solve societal challenges. NIFA supports initiatives that ensure the long-term viability of agriculture and applies an integrated approach to ensure that groundbreaking discoveries in agriculture-related sciences and technologies reach the people who can put them into practice. In FY2020, NIFA’s total investment was $1.95 billion.
Visit our website:; Twitter: @USDA_NIFA; LinkedIn: USDA-NIFA. To learn more about NIFA’s impact on agricultural science (searchable by state or keyword), visit

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