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SBIR Phase II: Improving food safety using hyper-stable enzyme cleaning products

Fuss, Jill
Cinder Biological
Start date
End date
The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research Phase II project will be to improve cleaning in the food processing industry by integrating hyper-stable enzymes into cleaning products. Industrial enzymes are a growing, multi-billion dollar green industry that reduces energy, water, and harsh chemical use while improving process efficiency in many sectors. Despite the broad use and success of industrial enzymes, their application and economic impact has been severely limited by narrow thermal and chemical operational ranges available. The company has developed heat and acid stable enzymes that significantly expand the reach of enzyme applications. The goal is to develop an initial product for the dairy cleaning market that will have the potential to increase production due to faster cleaning, achieve better removal of protein contaminants and biofilms, reduce water usage, and reduce food product exposure to chemicals and chemical waste. Better cleaning with enzymes has the potential to prevent food-borne illness, and decrease water use, while increasing food-processing profits and providing a biodegradable alternative to chemical cleaners.

This SBIR Phase II project proposes to demonstrate the feasibility of using the first practical protein expression platform to produce hyperstable enzymes for commercial use. Although the genes from extreme organisms have been studied for over forty years, their commercial potential has not been realized due to their incompatibility with traditional protein expression systems. The unique hyperstability of enzymes produced using the company's technologies indicate that enzyme stability is not encoded entirely by gene sequence. In Phase II, the goal is to develop more comprehensive cleaning formulations and test these with laboratory and field trial methods established in Phase I. The project encompasses a set of integrated experiments spanning molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, dairy processor field trials, and practical industrial bioprocess optimization. The aim is to transform the world's most extreme enzymes into the world's most effective products for membrane defouling and sanitation in the dairy industry and beyond.
Funding Source
United States Nat'l. Science Fndn.
Project source
View this project
Project number
Bacterial Pathogens
Natural Toxins
Viruses and Prions
Chemical Contaminants