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ELECTRON BEAM TECHNOLOGYAS A PLATFORM TECHNOLOGY TO CLEAN, HEAL, AND FEED THE WORLD, AND BEYOND

Investigators
Pillai, Suresh
Institutions
Texas A&M University
Start date
2018
End date
2023
Objective
The world confronts urban sprawl, industrial wastes, infectious diseases, foodborne disease outbreaks, water shortages, and challenges in securing adequate food supplies. These challenges are global in nature and require solutions that are globally applicable, technologically feasible, and economically sustainable. Coupled to these terrestrial challenges, there is also the renewed interest in exploring our solar system beyond just the near earth orbit. Both NASA and the private space industry are investing significantly to have a stronger presence in space. These endeavors require new types of space foods, new materials as well as improved clothing materials. To address these global challenges, we can no longer afford incremental changes. The present societal challenges calls for paradigm shifts in our thought processes on how to deploy appropriate technologies across global scales. The overall goal of this Hatch project is enable transformational changes in society by leveraging electron beam (eBeam) technology as a platform technology for a multitude of applications that could be termed as 'cleaning, healing, and feeding the world, and beyond"The world confronts urban sprawl, industrial wastes, infectious diseases, foodborne disease outbreaks, water shortages, and challenges in securing adequate food supplies. These challenges are global in nature and require solutions that are globally applicable, technologically feasible, and economically sustainable. Coupled to these terrestrial challenges, there is also the renewed interest in exploring our solar system beyond just the near earth orbit. Both NASA and the private space industry are investing significantly to have a stronger presence in space. These endeavors require new types of space foods, new materials as well as improved clothing materials. To address these global challenges, we can no longer afford incremental changes. The present societal challenges calls for paradigm shifts in our thought processes on how to deploy appropriate technologies across global scales. The overall goal of this Hatch project is enable transformational changes in society by leveraging electron beam (eBeam) technology as a platform technology for a multitude of applications that could be termed as 'cleaning, healing, and feeding the world, and beyond".Per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) used in a variety of consumer products (carpets, fabrics, and cookware) and in fire-fighting foams have accumulated to dangerous levels in drinking water wells, in tissues, blood, and mother's milk. I am proposing to advance PFAS remediation using eBeam technology as part of my research program over the next 5 years. The spread of human pathogens through improper disposal of wastewater effluent and sludge is a global concern. With increasing urbanization and resulting population increases, cities around the world have to manage enormous quantities of human wastes. The underlying premise of this project is that high energy electrons (eBeam) is a potentially disruptive technology can be exploited to not only to eliminate pathogens but also effect physicochemical changes in municipal wastes cost effectively to enhance methane production during anaerobic digestion.Around the world, almost 5 million children under the age of 5 die each year. The five leading causes of child mortality worldwide are respiratory infections, diarrhea, measles, malaria, and malnutrition. Malnutrition and contaminated water account for nearly half of these deaths.The underlying premise is eBeam-based vaccines for bacterial, viral and protozoan pathogens will lead to a completely new vaccine platform with significant commercial potential. I am proposing to focus on the development of eBeam-based killed vaccines against the poultry pathogen Clostridium perfringens and using eBeam-inactivated viruses to generate protective antibodies against rotavirus. The appropriate use of technology and sustainable crop production practices have in a large part been responsible for reducing world hunger. However, food security threat remains very high in sub-Saharan Africa. More than 40% of food in developing countries is lost in the farm due to a variety of reasons. Electron beam technologies can play a major role in preventing the needless food waste. The underlying premise of this project is that we can exploit eBeam technologies to develop high quality foods, high value foods that would ultimately spur the commercial adoption of eBeam technologies to a significant larger extent than today.The safety, nutrition, acceptability, and shelf life of space foods are of paramount importance to NASA and the private space industry. The underlying hypothesis of the proposed project is that application of eBeam processing allows the introduction of new foods such as fresh produce, breads, prepared meals etc., into the NASA food system.
Funding Source
Nat'l. Inst. of Food and Agriculture
Project source
View this project
Project number
TEX08708
Accession number
1017294
Categories
Natural Toxins
Food Defense and Integrity
Bacterial Pathogens
Commodities
Meat, Poultry, Game