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Texas company awarded $70,000 for enzyme bioremediation research

Release Date: 02/20/2009
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Anthony Suttice at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

(Dallas, Texas – February 20, 2009) Austin-based Agave BioSystems, Inc. has been awarded $70,000 in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to develop a new enzyme engineering system used to remediate contaminated properties. The bioremediation system will require enzymes and the fabrication of functionalized magnetic nanoparticles to improve the catalytic degradation of chemical agents such as pesticides.

“EPA’s SBIR program is proud to support small companies such as Agave BioSystems that are demonstrating a commitment to improving human health and the environment,” said EPA Acting Regional Administrator Larry Starfield. “As a result of research conducted by this small business, new scientific and technological innovations will be developed to improve our ability to clean and restore contaminated, residential and commercial properties.”

Agave BioSystems, Inc. is one of two small businesses in Region 6 to receive this 2009 funding. The concept of using enzymes for bioremediation has been the focus of intense academic and commercial interest for more than twenty years. National expenditures in the early 1990’s for environmental clean up exceeded $100 billion. Globally, overseas markets are continuously demanding “green processes” for the recovery of contaminated area.

Approximately 25 million small businesses in the United States employ more than 50 percent of the American workforce and develop most of the country's new technologies. SBIR was established to ensure that new technologies are developed to solve priority environmental problems, and is just one example of EPA's commitment to achieving real world environmental results through the use of innovative technology.

Since its inception in 1982, EPA’s SBIR program has helped fund more than 600 small businesses through its two-phased approach. Phase I awards are used to investigate the scientific merit and technical feasibility of a proposed concept. If the results of this phase are successful, businesses can submit proposals for Phase II contracts, which can reach amounts up to $345,000.

Additional information on the SBIR program is available at http://www.epa.gov/ncer/sbir/

More on the Phase I projects: http://es.epa.gov/ncer/rfa/2008/2008_sbir_phase1.html

About activities in EPA Region 6: http://www.epa.gov/region6

EPA audio file is available for 30 days at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/audio.htm#audio022009_sbirtx

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