Des Moines Register 05-14-06 Biz buzz

Des Moines Register
Biz buzz
Grant to help Ames firm develop pork technology
An Ames research company that developed ultrasound tests that help cattle
breeders improve the taste and nutritional value of beef has been awarded an
$80,000 Small Business Innovative Research grant by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture to develop a similar program for swine.
Biotronics Inc., which is located in the Iowa State University Research Park,
was given money for an eight-month "proof of concept" study to show how the
application could be used to improve the quality of pork, said Doyle Wilson, a
retired ISU professor who is president of Biotronics. An "implementation" grant
of up to $300,000 could be available later, he said.
In recent years, pork producers have successfully eliminated much of the
external fat on hogs, thereby improving nutritional value, but the effort has
reduced the intramuscular fat on cuts, including pork chops, and that reduces
flavor, Wilson said.
Ultrasound can be used to identify breeding stock with desired traits, including
more intramuscular fat, he said.