Summary of Awards to Date

SBIR Phase I: Use of bacteriophages to prevent foodborne illness associated with raw produce.

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Jan. 1, 2008 - Jun. 30, 2008

Award Number


Funding Agency

National Science Foundation

Amount Awarded



Lisa Bielke, Ph.D.
Biodetection Instruments, LLC


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I research develops a bacteriophage-based spray/dip to disinfect whole or sliced fresh produce. This research will utilize key patent pending processes that will reduce the cost and safety concerns of commercial-scale production of bacteriophage preparations. By utilizing multiple-host-range, alternative host amplified bacteriophages, the product will ultimately be effective against a range of pathogenic bacteria associated with fruits and vegetables. The broader impact of this research will be the formulation of a cost-effective method to reduce or eliminate foodborne pathogens on fresh produce. Although the United States has the safest food supply in the world, contamination of food products by pathogenic bacteria is a major concern of our society. Changes in dietary habits, methods of produce production and processing, global sourcing of produce, and the emergence of pathogens previously not recognized for their association with raw produce have enhanced the potential for outbreaks associated with raw fruits and vegetables. Commonly used disinfectants achieve the recommended bacterial reduction only a small percentage of the time. Thus, there is a significant need for inexpensive and cost-effective produce decontamination processes that will be met by the proposed bacteriophage preparation.