Des Moines Register 05-14-06 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.