Microvi Wins NSF Grant to Develop a Novel Selenium-Reducing Biotechnology

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Microvi Biotechnologies a grant to develop a novel high-performance biological technology that removes selenium from water, the company announced today. 

The new technology is based on Microvi’s MicroNiche Engineering™ platform, a process which enhances microbial physiology using materials science to provide synthetic biocatalyst microenvironments. 

Microvi’s technology will reduce the amount of selenium in wastewater to below 5 parts-per-billion, a standard that can be prohibitively expensive to achieve using existing technologies. 

Microvi’s solution will cost much less than existing selenium-removing technologies and is a robust biological solution to the worldwide problem of selenium contamination of water, which is a significant threat to human health and environmental integrity. 

The NSF grant, led by Dr. Joseph Salanitro, Senior Microbiologist at Microvi, will fund a research and development project that will run through December. 

“Our highly multidisciplinary approach has the potential to provide a targeted, high-performance biological solution for the problem of selenium in water,” said Ameen Razavi, Director of Innovation Research. “Our platform combines high-throughput directed evolution with materials science to achieve novel, cost-effective and consistent results.” 

Selenium contamination of water is frequently present in industrial wastewater left by mining, coal plants, agricultural runoff, and flue gas desulfurization processes. Drinking selenium-polluted water can lead to hair and skin issues, gastrointestinal problems, and damage to nervous, kidney and liver tissue.

About the National Science Foundation
The NSF is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 to promote science, national health, and the prosperity and welfare of the United States. With an annual budget of $7.2 billion this year, the agency is the funding source for approximately 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities. 

About Microvi
Microvi is a green technology company based in the San Francisco Bay Area that delivers next-generation biotechnologies for the water, wastewater and renewable chemical industries. Microvi offers commercial technologies around the world to reduce waste, increase productivity and provide disruptive economics across the value chain. Learn more at www.microvi.com.



Karin Kidder, VP of Marketing