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AFRI – FAS Nanotechnology for Agricultural and Food Systems (A1511)
Program Area Priority: Nanoscale science, engineering, and technology embrace opportunities in a wide range of critical challenges facing agriculture and food systems. The program encourages applications with innovative ideas, connected to hypothesis-based fundamental sciences, to develop nanotechnology-enabled solutions for sustainable food and nutrition security, climate-smart agriculture, and circular bioeconomy through the following broad areas: improved productivity and product quality; reduction of food waste/loss; improved nutritional value and efficiency of food and feed products; more effective therapies that significantly impact animal health and wellness; enhanced food safety and biosecurity; increased protection for natural resources, the environment, and agricultural ecosystems; reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; and improved sustainability, health, safety and joy of living. This program area priority includes, but is not limited to:
a. Novel uses and high value-added products of nano-biomaterials from agricultural and forest origins for food and non-food applications. Note: Applications primarily addressing packaging, food contact surfaces, food safety, agrochemicals, environment, health, or other aspects of agriculture and food production will be acceptable, whereas applications addressing how engineered nanomaterials affect nutritional or quality attributes of food are not solicited in this program.
b. Nanotechnology-enabled smart sensors for accurate, reliable and cost-effective early and rapid detection of pathogens, allergens, insects, diseases, chemical toxins, and contaminants in foods, plant and animal production systems, water, soil and the agricultural production environment. Nanotechnology-enabled portable, field-deployable and affordable sensors and devices for real-time detection and screening to identify agriculturally-important targets requiring no additional laboratory analyses are welcome.
c. Cost-effective distributed sensing networks, in which the sensors are enabled by nanotechnology, for intelligent and precise application of agricultural inputs (e.g., fertilizer, water, and chemicals) with the Internet of Agricultural Things (i.e., cyberphysical systems) and the science and tools of big data.
d. Environmental, health and safety assessments of engineered nanoparticles used in food and agricultural systems, including detection and quantification of engineered nanoparticles, characterization of hazards, exposure levels, transport and fate of the engineered nanoparticles or nanomaterials in foods, crops, soils (and soil biota), water, and livestock (including aquaculture species), or to agricultural and allied industry workers. This may also include animal feed formulations and processes that utilize novel nanomaterials or develop new nanostructured materials or nanoparticles that are biopersistent in digestive pathways.
e. Nanotechnology-enabled monitoring physiological biomarkers for optimal crop or animal productivity and health.
f. Discovery and characterization of nanoscale phenomena, processes, and structures relevant and important to agriculture and food.