Dr. Gerard Dumancas, Associate Professor of Chemistry at LSUA, was recently awarded a $72,000 grant through LSU LIFT2 Grant Program.
Dr. Gerard Dumancas, Associate Professor of Chemistry at LSUA, was recently awarded a $72,000 grant through LSU LIFT2 Grant Program. The Office of the President at LSU awards the research grant to an outstanding scientist throughout the LSU system. The goal of the grant is to provide funds for research technologies that are close to commercialization. Dr. Dumancas’ research is based on a convenient, easy to use method of determining the authenticity, or purity, of honey in just one to two minutes.
“I am so excited to have been awarded this grant since this is such a competitive process. To be at an undergraduate only university and compete against all other LSU campuses, it really says a lot about our research and the impact we can have on the honey market,” Dumancas said.
Since there is no current federal standard for the identification of pure honey, Dr. Dumancas’ development of a smartphone application device to detect honey authenticity is much needed. Due to a recent common practice to add hard-to-detect adulterants like corn or cane to honey, companies have been able to reduce their costs and sell the product at a much lower price. The device developed can quickly examine the fructose to glucose ratio in order to decipher whether a honey is pure or not.
The development of this application can disrupt the $581 million honey adulteration market in the US by 2023. Numerous honey companies have already expressed interest in adopting Dumancas’ application. In fact, a few even went as far as writing letters of support to LSU for Dumancas’ research and the grant application.
This unique research is one of the many reasons Dumancas has had students interested in assisting him. According to one student that was recruited by Dumancas, the opportunity to participate in the study has completely shaped her experience at LSUA.
“Dr. Dumancas is very thorough in his research and he is a great person to work with. Not only did I get involved with the research because I thought he was a good teacher or it looks good on my resume’, but it is great to help with something that will make a difference. It feels good,” said Helena Ellis, a senior chemistry major who has been a part of the research for two semesters.
Helena, a non-traditional student who is married with two children, decided to attend LSUA because it is close to home and affordable. “I look at LSUA completely different now because of the opportunities it has provided me,” she said.
While Helena’s participation in the research concludes with her graduation in May, Dr. Dumancas will continue the project through the remainder of the year or until completion, whichever is first. Once the grant expires at the end of 2020, Dumancas hopes to have the smartphone device application patented and commercialized through a subscription based model.