CitrusMimic Detects Greening and Kills Psyllids

Daniel CooperAwards, HLB Management

Choudhary presents her pitch for CitrusMimic to the judges.
Photo by Betsy Martinez, University of Miami

A University of Miami (UM) doctoral candidate won third place in the UM College of Engineering’s Rothberg Catalyzer Pitch Competition for creating an instrument to quickly detect airborne traces of citrus greening disease.

Shruti Choudhary’s creation, CitrusMimic, would be deployed on farming equipment to continuously draw in air and test for the citrus greening bacteria spread by the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). Any insects found in the air would also be killed by the instrument, Choudhary said.

Choudhary will be using her prize, a $10,000 grant, to test the instrument at a Central Florida citrus farm soon. She hopes to also devise solutions to prevent psyllids from spreading the infection once detected by the instrument.

“We are on a mission to turn around the citrus industry in Florida back to 2005, preventing citrus greening and catching and killing the insects before they infect the plant,” Choudhary said.

Choudhary is advised by Pratim Biswas, dean of the UM College of Engineering. “The Rothberg Catalyzer Pitch Competition is a testament to how the fusion of engineering principles with an innovative mindset can create impactful opportunities, not just for our students, but for society,” Biswas said. 

A total of 15 teams were chosen as finalists for the competition at the end of March. They received a $2,000 grant to develop their business idea into a prototype and present it. The teams competed before a panel of judges who are all venture capitalists.

The winner of the competition was SimuStride, a student startup that aims to help amputees transition to a prosthetic limb using augmented reality.

The second-place winner was the ABG Now Monitor, a biomedical device to measure and analyze blood gas values through an intra-arterial catheter often administered to critical care patients. The device would reduce the number of times that patients get their blood drawn in hospitals and offer health care providers faster updates on critical patients.

Source: University of Miami

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