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Agent Behavior

The Food Protection and Defense Institute is a multi-disciplinary and action-oriented research consortium. Collaborations have been established at over 40 academic and private sector organizations.

This research priority area develops innovative detection, decontamination, and inactivation technologies using research on the fundamental behaviors of select chemical or biological agents in food. Research results provide guidance and capabilities to support public and private sector efforts to prevent and mitigate high-threat agents in the food supply.

Agent Behavior Publications

Research Projects

Inactivation of Microbial Agents with High Concentrations of Industrial Sanitizers

Principal Investigator: 
Katherine Swanson
This study evaluated the effectiveness of currently available chemical biocides against Bacillus anthracis spores and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis (as a surrogate for Y. pestis) on clean and soiled stainless steel surfaces. Information on the effect of available biocides on the above organisms is...

A Systematic Approach for the Detection of Bioterrorism Agents in Complex Sample Matrices

Principal Investigator: 
Lee Ann Jaykus
The purpose of this project was to develop selective ligands (peptide and nucleic acid) to facilitate pre-analytical capture and subsequent detection of priority pathogens and bioagents (ricin B chain and B. anthracis spores) in foods. Twenty peptides displaying affinity to ricin B chain have been...

Determination of Y. pseudotuberculosis Survival in Milk under Temperature Stresses

Principal Investigator: 
Teshome Yehualaeshet
Based on the potential for intentional use of Yersinia to contaminate the food supply and its ability to grow even in refrigerated foods, this study focuses on developing a protocol for extracting PCRcompatible genomic DNA from the surrogate Y. pseudotuberculosis in spiked milk and to determine the...

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...

Development of a Multiplex Bio-barcode DNA Biosensor for Bacillus anthracis Detection without PCR Amplification Phase I

Principal Investigator: 
Evangelyn Alocilja
The multiplex DNA-based detection device proposed here is novel and unique: the first design of a bio-barcode DNA amplification for Bacillus anthracis that uses a direct charge transfer (DCT) biosensor for signal measurement. The novelty is in the PCR-less DNA recognition coupled with rapid...

A Simple and Rapid Method for the Simultaneous Purification and Concentration of Nucleic Acids and Proteins from Food Matrices

Principal Investigator: 
Charles Young
The objective of this research is to evaluate the potential for an electrophoretic method known as isotachophoresis to simultaneously concentrate and purify nucleic acids and proteins from difficult food matrices. The method, initially developed using Internal Research and Development (IRAD) money...

Integrating Microbial Target Capture with Flow Field Fractionation for Lab on a Chip Device for Food Matrices

Principal Investigator: 
Suresh Pillai
The goal of this project is to design, optimize, and test a prototype device for pre-analytical processing and sample acquisition to enable the separation and concentration of bacterial endospores from large volumes of milk and apple juice. In this supplemental funding cycle, we will expand our...

Development of Biologically Modified Electrically-active Magnetic Nanoparticles (nano-BEAMS) for Direct Capture and Concentration of Bacillus anthracis Spores and Cells in Various Food Matrices

Principal Investigator: 
Evangelyn Alocilja
This project has 4 objectives, namely: (1) to synthesize and characterize electrically-active magnetic nanoparticles, (2) to biologically modify the nanoparticles (nano-BEAMs) with antibodies and aptamers specific to the target Bacillus anthracis and optimize the binding parameters, (3) to evaluate...

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...


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