Agricultural Innovation Partnership announces projects

The Agricultural Utilization Research Institute recently announced the projects selected for the third installment of its Agricultural Innovation Partnership program.

The selected projects align with AURI’s core focus areas: biobased products, renewable energy, coproducts and food. Each project furthers AURI’s mission to foster long-term economic benefit through value-added agricultural products. The projects will receive funding from AURI, plus additional support and guidance to help capitalize on these ideas to catalyze innovation.

The 2019 AIP selections are:

Food waste

Packaging Technology & Research will map out the food loss and waste value chains for select Minnesota agricultural products from farm to end of retail. Through this work PTR aims to provide insights to add value to ag processing waste streams through diversion from landfills, including new processing and product solutions, innovative supply chain solutions to decrease food loss, novel sustainable packaging solutions and innovative system solutions to help reduce food waste.

Shelf life

Minnesota food entrepreneurs bring many new products to market each year. These entrepreneurs often turn to AURI for guidance and frequently inquire about product shelf life. Through this project, AURI will work with Minneapolis-based Clutch Business Accelerator to create a shelf life primer, enabling food entrepreneurs with the science behind and supply chain ramifications of defining a food product’s shelf life.

Wild rice

Minnesota is one of the world’s largest suppliers of cultivated wild rice. Producers are increasingly looking for ways to blend wild rice into new products as a way to expand market share. In partnership with the Minnesota Wild Rice Council, this project will conduct a Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score evaluation on wild rice. PDCAAS is the industry standard and preferred method for measuring the protein quality of a food product, an important attribute in defining the product’s impact on human nutrition. Additionally, this project will measure the relative impact of a wild-rice rich diet, relative to other diets. This will help position cultivated wild rice as a key ingredient in new food uses ranging from nutrition/protein bars to gluten free flours/pastas, as well as a gateway to plant-based ingredient alternatives.

Through the AIP program, AURI provides expertise and oversight to assist entrepreneurs in finding diverse funding sources to advance ideas; support communicating and managing project activities; aid in monitoring progress and reporting against goals; and tracking and reporting initiative impacts.

In addition, all AIP projects are intended for public consumption and AURI will share the information generated through the program to help producers, entrepreneurs, businesses and agricultural processors explore opportunities and technologies. Past research through the program has produced applied research studies, as well as guides and tools to help businesses utilizing the state’s agricultural products.

AURI considers proposals spanning the value-added agricultural sector and encourages new and returning applicants to submit ideas to its AIP program next year.