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Molecular Biology/Genomics

Validation of Gold Nanoparticle DNA-based Biosensors for the Detection of Non-PCR Amplified Bacterial Food Borne Pathogens in Food Matrices

Principal Investigator: 
Sylvia Vetrone
Since the intentional distribution of Bacillus anthracis spores through the US postal system in 2001, the prospect of bioterrorism in food, water, and agriculture has identified critical needs in prevention, protection, and mitigation for homeland security. Towards that end, we recently...

Development of a Multiplex Bio-barcode DNA Biosensor for Bacillus anthracis Phase II

Principal Investigator: 
Evangelyn Alocilja
The long-term goal of the above project is to develop a DNA-based detection device that will not require PCR amplification and still retain PCRsensitivity. For this particular project, the deliverables include: (1) Synthesis and characterization of the DNA probe-coated and bio-barcoded...

Modification of Sample Preparation to Differentiate Live, Injured and Dead Bacteria in Polymerase Chain Reaction Assay

Principal Investigator: 
Teshome Yehualaeshet
Accurate determination of live, damaged or injured, and dead bacteria is important in microbiology detection to avoid false alarm. Dead bacteria present after processes such as pasteurization or disinfection might present no hazard but still can be detected by Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)...

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...

Validation of Agent Inactivation and Isolation from Food Systems

Principal Investigator: 
Alvin Lee
Validation of a process needed to eliminate a microbiological or chemical hazard in food can be difficult. Processing technologies that have shown efficacy in eliminating a hazard under laboratory conditions, usually under well controlled parameters, may not be effective against the threat agent...

Novel Methods for Detection of Clostridium botulinum and Botulinum Neurotoxin in Complex Food Matrices

Principal Investigator: 
Eric Johnson
Clostridium botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) is the most potent biological agent known. It poses a major bioweapon and bioterrorism threat, especially in the food chain, such as in milk, juice (e.g., carrot and orange juice), various low acid foods, and water. Although much effort has been spent on...

Simultaneous detection of multiple food safety threat agents using multiplex PCR and PCR-based microarray approaches

Principal Investigator: 
Woubit Salah Abdela
Food-borne pathogens cause millions of clinical illnesses every year and cost billions of dollars to manage and control. Several recent examples including Salmonella enterica serovar Saintpaul in produce, Escherichia coli O157:H7 in ground beef, Listeria monocytogenes in ready to eat meat have led...

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...

Development of Nontoxigenic Clostridium botulinum Toxins and Strains for Food Defense Studies (Surrogates)

Principal Investigator: 
Eric Johnson
Clostridium botulinum produces the most poisonous toxin known and is a potential major biodefense threat in various food systems. To ensure defense measures against intentional foodborne and inhalational botulism, it will be extremely valuable to have non-toxic surrogates of botulinum neurotoxin...

Melamine-Cyanuric Acid Detection System for Purposely Adulterated Foods

Principal Investigator: 
Lawrence Wackett
Melamine (2,4,6-triamino-1,3,5-triazine) has been used on numerous occasions by individuals as a food adulterant to boost the apparent nitrogen content of food. Together with cyanuric acid, melamine causes acute kidney failure. In the recent infant formula incident, 150,000 children were...

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