Microbial volatile organic compound sensor

Source of Article:  http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20090216/SUB1/302169978/1005&Profile=1005


By JOEL HAMMOND

4:30 am, February 16, 2009

Strongsville-based Sensor Development Corp. is doing its part to keep some of the food you eat free from potentially deadly toxins.

The company is developing a sensor for grain elevators that would provide continuous monitoring of mold growth and the potentially fatal aflatoxin.

The sensor monitors gases in grain elevators' head spaces, and the data are transported to a central computer for processing. SDC touts the technology as more efficient and accurate, as the continuous monitoring cuts out the current process of sampling only at random intervals, then preparing the samples and finally analyzing the data. Instead, SDC's system allows for instant analysis and better quality control.

SDC, which has been awarded three Small Business Innovation Research grants totaling $450,000 and two Cuyahoga County loans totaling $100,000, will test the technology through Cargill and The Andersons, said SDC president Nick Smilanich. The company forecasts revenue not only from selling the sensor system, but also replacement chips and technical service once installed; SDC is aiming to cut down on the approximately 6% of corn lost in the United States' 2 million elevators each year.

“Especially in the grain and food industries, there's a greater desire on consumers' behalf for more refined and pure products,” said Mike Kiel, director of grain division operations at The Andersons, a Maumee-based diversified agri-business and retailing company. “(Sensor Development's system) will help us immediately identify any propagation of mold and get our product into the mainstream sooner.”

The technology was originally developed by C.C. Liu at Case Western Reserve University's Electronic Design Center and exclusively licensed to SDC.

 

 

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