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Home Biotechnologies Pilot application of biodosimeter ‘VitaD’ for the improvement of technology of ultraviolet irradiation of cultivated mushrooms for the vitamin D enhancement

Pilot application of biodosimeter ‘VitaD’ for the improvement of technology of ultraviolet irradiation of cultivated mushrooms for the vitamin D enhancement

Project Summary

Technology: Novel unique UV biodosimeter ‘VitaD’ directly measures the vitamin-D-synthetic capacity of sunlight and UV sources

Problem: More than half of the world population is vitamin D deficient! Low vitamin D levels increase risk of serious health problems (cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, etc.) and premature deaths.

Market pain: Despite the numerous UV dosimeters on the market, none measures UV dose required to overcome the vitamin D deficiency (They measure erythemic or mutagenic activity of UV radiation)

Estimated markets:

  • UV D-biodosimeter is brand new in the international market
  • Tanning Salons in the US Revenue $5bn Annual Growth 08-13 0.1%
  • UV LED market is booming: From $45M in 2012 to $270M in 2017
  • New tubes with higher UVB output hit the market.

World production of mushrooms is growing and now exceeds 3 million tons worth a market value of US $ 10 billion.

Problem we are solving

Natural exposure to sunlight is responsible for the synthesis of 90% of our vitamin D. Most adults who are not exposed to adequate sunlight suffer from the vitamin D deficiency. “Ninety-five percent of Americans are deficient in vitamin D— that’s how big the problem is.” John J. Cannell, MD, Vitamin D Council.

Now the Problem of the vitamin D deficiency is solved by sales of vitamin D and vitamin D containing dietary supplements. Vitamin D sales grew from $234 million in 2006 to $897 million in 2011.

But Vitamin D made from the sun actually lasts longer in the body, compared with vitamin D from supplements.

Vitamin D - Sunny Vitamin

Solar UVB (280-320nm) radiation is very changeable and long periods is unable to initiate vitamin D synthesis in skin (‘vitamin D winter’ lasts 6 months in Kiev). There is no one device in the market that can measure the vitamin-D-synthetic capacity of sunlight and artificial UV sources.

Proposed Solution

Unique patented UV biodosimeter ‘VitaD’ is based on the same photoreaction which begins vitamin D synthesis in human skin.

The photosensitive element is a matrix (polymer, hydrogel, etc.) doped with provitamin D molecules which are converted into previtamin D upon UV irradiation. Special portable optoelectronic device ‘Vita D’ has been elaborated to follow the photoreaction course in real time.

Our business concept comprises both service (measurements, teaching ) and sale (D-matrices, device ‘VitaD’, new technology of UV irradiation of food).

Variety of future offerings can be evolved from this solution.

Schematic representation of Vitamin D3 synthesis in the Skin (and in plants)

The concentration of previtamin D accumulated during an UV exposure is a measure of accepted ‘antirachitic’ UV biodose

Brief technology description

1. Spectrophotometric analysis in situ (Commonly used HPLC analysis is unable to provide UV dosimetry in situ)

Spectrophotometric analysis of the multicomponent photoisomer mixture A(λ )=Σ Aj(λ)=lΣej(λ ) Cj (j=1,..m)

2. Simplified analysis

by measuring transparency at ~280nm


1. Medical research - linear correlation between in vivo and in vitro data was found T.Orlova; J.Moan; Z.Lagunova; L.Aksnes; I.Terenetskaya; A.Juzeniene "Increase in serum 25-hydroxy-vitamin-D3 in humans after sunbed exposures compared to previtamin D3 synthesis in vitro", J. Photochem. Photobiol. B: Biology 2013, 122, 32-36).

2. Experiment: Effect of organic water pollution on previtamin photosynthesis.

3. Testing of UV lamp for home phototherapy: The vitamin D synthetic capacity is negligible: less than 1% of previtamin D is formed during recommended 10min exposure.

Market Opportunity


The UV LED market is booming: From $45M in 2012 to $270M in 2017

Tanning Salons in the US Revenue $5bn Annual Growth 08-13 0.1% World production of mushrooms is growing and now exceeds 3 million tons worth a market value of US $ 10 billion

Competitive Matrix

Important product or technology characteristics My institute’s product UV meter ‘Vita D’ Name of Competitor #1 Polysulphone film badge (UK) Name of Competitor #2, Model 6.4 (Solartech, USA)
Key Characteristic UV sensor material Provitamin D biomolecules UV sensitive polymer Silicon Carbide semiconductor
Key Characteristic Spectral sensitivity Provitamin D absorption spectrum Erythema action spectrum Erythema action spectrum
Key Characteristic UV induced effect Previtamin D photosynthesis Photodegradation Photocurrent
Key Characteristic Cost Vita D ~ $300 (key element - LED 280nm price $150) Sensor film ~ $2-5 (mass-production) $2,3 per badge $6,4 per badge with measurement service $199

Where we are now:

  • There are laboratory models of a patented UV dosimeter ‘VitaD’ and mini-spectrometer
  • A preliminary marketing analysis.
  • Service is ready to sell : measurements of UV biodose using the UV biodosimeter in the appropriate places (in tanning salons, clinics, zoos, etc.).
  • Accomplishments to date: ‘Laser World of Photonics’ (Munich, May 23-26, 2011)

Where we are going

  • Website integrated with other HEALTH, UV, etc. sites;
  • Exhibitions, advertising publications, customer education via seminars and video.
  • Sales execution – via partner network (initially) and direct delivery (at a later stage)
  • Additional services – Coaching, Consultations, collection of used films
  • Strategic Alliance (with UV lamp producers or marketing (trade) company)

Business development milestones

  • 3 months:
    Production of client tailored presentations (by fields of use and targeted market) and other promotion materials
  • 6 months:
    Visits to specialized forums/seminars/industrial exhibitions (medical care, food safety, agriculture, tanning services), promotion of the technology (as a best existing remedy to overcome the vitamin-D deficiency), business networking (business communication, gathering direct contacts, signing agreements on strategic partnership)
  • 3 months:
    Implementation of agreed agreements: tailoring ‘Vita-D’ technology for uses envisioned by representatives of business met on specialized forums/seminars/exhibitions

Further development: use of money (to be obtained from measuring and consultation services), experience, and business connections for commercialization the technology in other, more time and capital intensive ways (mass production of ‘VitaD’ biodosimeters).

  • 30% of CRDF funds will be used for optimization the technology UV irradiation of mushrooms for the Vitamin-D-enrichment
  • 70% - for participation in the specialized forums/seminars/industrial exhibitions, promotion of the technology, business networking

Revenue and/or ROI forecasts: to be calculated upon realization of previous steps.

See video

Contact Details

Prof. Irina Terenetskaya
Organization: Institute of Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
Address: 46, Prospekt Nauki, Kiev, 03028, Ukraine
(+38 044) 525 0813, Fax: 380 44 525 1589
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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