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Development of a Quantitative Food Supply Vulnerability Tool Exploring Public Health Risks

Principal Investigator: 
Emma Hartnett
The FSMA (2011) Section 106 requires that a vulnerability assessment of the food system be conducted, including biological, chemical, radiological, or other risk assessments. While defining vulnerability, DHS (2010) noted that a practical measure is the "likelihood that an attack is successful...

Modular and Expandable Detection Platform for Current and Potential Food Toxins and Adulterants

Principal Investigator: 
Lawrence Wackett
This project is focused on developing a platform technology for detecting hundreds of potential toxins and adulterants in foods, including newly emerging threats to the food supply. The technology relies on the release of ammonia and is based on the action of specific enzymes acting on the toxin of...

Proof-of-concept study for the development of a cell-free GPCR-based biosensor for rapid non-specific detection of chemical and biological toxic agents

Principal Investigator: 
Evangelyn Alocilja
This project is a high-risk/high-reward exploratory proof-of-concept work to evaluate the potential of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) as sensing elements in biosensor devices for rapid non-specific but highly sensitive detection (detect-to-warn) of toxicants in selected complex food matrices...

Capture and Detection of Botulinum Neurotoxin (BoNT) in Complex Food Matrices using Novel Biosensor Platforms

Principal Investigator: 
Eric Johnson
In an effort to improve early BoNT/A detection, we have developed four different sensors to capture and detect botulinum neurotoxin. 1. toxin-responsive hydrogel sensors, 2. self-assembled monolayers (SAMs), SAMs consisting of an immobilized synthetic peptide that mimicked the toxin's in vivo...

Detection and Removal of Select Agents from Complex Sample Matrices: Phase II

Principal Investigator: 
Lee Ann Jaykus
The purpose of this project is to use specific DNA aptamer and peptide ligands for the development of small, robust and inexpensive technologies for separating B. anthracis spores, ricin, and staphylococcal enterotoxin B (capture) from the background components (colloidal substances, nonharmful...

Thermal and Chemical Inactivation of Select Agent Toxins in Liquid Foods

Principal Investigator: 
Francisco Diez-Gonzalez
The overall goal of this project is to characterize the thermal and chemical stability of selected toxins in milk and juices and to investigate the conditions for their rapid inactivation. The specific goals of this project are: 1. Characterize the thermal stability of ricin, abrin, staphylococcal...

Stability of Botulinum Neurotoxin (BoNT) in Food Matrices

Principal Investigator: 
Eric Johnson
The traditionally safe U.S. food supply may be an attractive target for bioterrorists intent on causing large numbers of casualties, or with the intention of creating nationwide panic about the safety of foods. Deliberate contamination of food or beverages may be the most likely route of botulinum...

Chemical stability of ricin under conditions that mimic pasteurization of beverages

Principal Investigator: 
Peter Varelis
Ricin and abrin are two plant-derived proteins that have been identified as potential bioterrorism agents because of their acute toxicities and the quantities that can be readily isolated from the seeds of two ubiquitous plants (Ricinus communis and Abrus pecatorius, respectively). Whilst several...


Principal Investigator: 
Craig Hedberg
FoodSHIELD ( is a Web-based platform designed to facilitate communication and coordination among the various food and agricultural sector laboratories and regulatory agencies. Two comprehensive databases are being developed to support FoodShield: Food&AgDIR, which...
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