NASA SBIR 2008 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 08-1 X12.02-9675
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Advanced Food Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Non-Foil High Barrier Food Packaging Materials for Human Centered Spacecrafts

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Innosense, LLC
2531 West 237th Street, Suite 127
Torrance, CA 90505 - 5245
(310) 530-2011

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Uma Sampathkumaran
2531 W. 237th Street, Suite 127
Torrance, CA 90505 - 5245
(310) 530-2011

Expected Technology Readiness Level (TRL) upon completion of contract: 3

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
This project aims to develop food packaging technologies for extending shelf-live toward maintaining healthy diet and psychological well being of the space crew. The underlying technology builds on sol-gel core competency of the company. InnoSense LLC (ISL) will collaborate with the Food Technology Department at Ohio State University (OSU) for independent testing of the Flexible ORMOSIL Nanocomposite (FlexornTM) barrier materials. Through an iterative process of coating and testing, the Phase I project would demonstrate: (a) that the Flexorn barrier can be deposited onto polymeric substrates and can be adhesively bonded to a polypropylene layer for food packaging applications; (b) achievement of water vapor transmission rate (WVTR) < than 1 g/m2-day and oxygen transmission rate (OTR) < than 1 cc/m2-day for the flexible thin-film barrier. The focus of Phase II will be optimization of the barrier architecture, and the evaluation of prototype flexible pouches for their mechanical and barrier properties after retorting, a process typically used to package reheatable foods in flexible packaging applications. Prominent members of the Center for Advanced Processing and Packaging Studies (CAPPS) at OSU (e.g., Kraft Foods) have expressed strong interest in applying this NASA-funded technology to expand their market shares.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
For long duration space exploration missions, crew members will find food whose natural characteristics are well preserved more appealing for consumption. Packaging materials that offer an effective barrier against oxygen and moisture for maintaining food quality also offer a secondary benefit boosting of the short-term behavior and morale of the crew. Appealing food has a proven effect on physiological factors such as appetite, alertness, relaxation, and cognitive skills. Cognitive skills and alertness are crucial during an extravehicular engineering task. Another area of importance that would be met by the proposed packaging materials is in solid waste management within the spacecraft. Currently waste is collected and stored in bags that act as environmental barriers to prevent the escape of noxious odors into the crew habitat. These issues are addressed by ISL's flexible, nanomaterials-based high barrier technology to the permeation of oxygen and water vapor.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Current consumer trends bode well for companies able to develop packaging materials that keep food natural while tasting good. The overall demand for packaged food items experienced a rise of nearly 14% annually to 3,200 units worldwide in 2003. Simmons Market Research Bureau data show that over half of adults (51%) like the trend toward healthier eating, and this trend—combined with tremendous consumer demand for convenience and the desire for more flavorful foods, including premium and gourmet offerings—is driving foodservice and retail sales across many breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack food categories in many retail and foodservice venues. Other application areas of the ISL technology include conformal barriers for flexible electronics, in particular display applications like OLED market, transparent conducting oxide and electrochromic oxide thin film technologies.

NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.

Biomedical and Life Support
Earth-Supplied Resource Utilization
General Public Outreach
K-12 Outreach
Multifunctional/Smart Materials
Optical & Photonic Materials
Sterilization/Pathogen and Microbial Control

Form Generated on 11-24-08 11:56