March 17, 2005 –
Steve Johnson, EPA Acting Administrator, has announced that nGimat Co. of Chamblee, Georgia, received $70,000 from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contracts program in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). nGimat was chosen from a pool of 363 applicants from across the country.
nGimat proposes to develop a compact, portable instrument that can optically detect and identify waterborne bacteria, viruses, and toxins. By using magnetic nanoparticles, the easy-to-use sensor is intended to provide rapid rapid, real-time readings of biological molecules at extremely small concentrations.
The World Health Organization has stated that infectious diseases are the world’s largest single contributor to human mortality and many of these are waterborne. The development of monitoring equipment that can detect and identify naturally occurring waterborne bacteria, viruses and toxins, as well as bio-warfare agents, is key to improving safety and minimizing economic loses resulting from infectious waterborne diseases. However, portable monitoring systems that are easily operated by untrained personnel are either not available or do not have the requisite response and sensitivity. The technology proposed by nGimat may solve this important problem.
The 22 million small businesses in the United States employ about 51 percent of the private work force and develop most of the countrys new technologies. Years ago, Congress recognized the need to strengthen the role of small businesses in federally funded research and development and passes a law creating the Small Business Innovation Research program for businesses with no more than 500 employees. EPAs highly competitive SBIR program offers critical financial support to small businesses to develop the best, new, innovative technologies. EPAs SBIR program focuses on important areas related to environmental protection, including clean air and water, hazardous and solid wastes, pollution prevention, remediation, and monitoring. Recent issues include homeland security, clean-up technologies, and technology solutions for specific environmental needs.
EPA relies on quality science as the basis for sound policy and decision-making. EPAs laboratories, research centers, and grantees are building the scientific foundation needed to support the Agencys mission to safeguard human health and the environment. For more information about EPAs SBIR program, please visit: www.epa.gov/ncer/sbir.