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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

Extraction and Concentration of Chemical (Tetramethylenedisulfotetramine) and biological (ricin) toxins using Molecular Imprinted Electrospun Fibers Coupled with Detection at Aptamer Modified Polymer Electrodes

Principal Investigator: 
Keith Warriner
On-site screening of biohazards is an essential tool to contain or prevent dissemination of toxic agents within the food chain. Although there are highly sensitive laboratory based systems available for biohazard detection the majority require a high degree of technical expertise and cannot be...

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...

Extraction of Bacillus anthracis Spores and Ricin from Liquid Foods and its Potential Utilization for Inline Detection

Principal Investigator: 
Francisco Diez-Gonzalez
The major objectives of this project are to identify a method for efficient extraction and concentration of Bacillus anthracis spores and ricin toxin from milk and orange juice, and to identify compatible rapid detection technologies. In addition to the major project objectives, a method for PCR...

Validation of Methods for Decontamination of Food Processing Equipment and Facilities

Principal Investigator: 
Alvin Lee
The goal of this project is to validate the effects of various cleaning and liquid/gaseous sanitizing protocols for decontamination of food processing equipment and facilities with spores of several potential surrogate Bacillus species including B. anthracis Sterne strains, with validation under...

Identification and Characterization of Temperature-dependent Virulent Genes in Y. pestis, .Y pseudotuberculosis and Y. enterocolitica.

Principal Investigator: 
Teshome Yehualaeshet
Important pathogens in the genus Yersinia include the plague Yersinia pestis and two enteropathogenic species, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and Yersinia enterocolitica. Y. pestis is a potential agent as a terrorist weapon, either in a covert or overt manner. Y. pestis and Y. pseudotuberculosis share...

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...

Use of Plasma Technology to Decontaminate Surfaces and Air in Food Processing Environments

Principal Investigator: 
Amy Wong
The overall goal of the proposed research is to use plasma-aided technologies to disinfect surfaces and air in food processing environments that have been contaminated with Bacillus cereus spores, a surrogate for Bacillus anthracis. This proposal specifically addresses Aim D.1.2 "Test specific...

Extraction, Concentration, and Detection of Toxins in Solid Food Systems using Molecular Imprinted Polymer Films

Principal Investigator: 
Keith Warriner
An integrated system to extract, concentrate and detect Staphylococcus aureus exterotoxin B (SEB) has been developed. The main focus of the work was to deliver a robust, low cost system that could be automated to permit on-site toxin screening capabilities. Since biological affinity agents are...

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...

Evaluation of Methods for Decontamination of Food Processing Equipment and Facilities Deliberately Contaminated with Bacillus Spores

Principal Investigator: 
Martin Cole
To validate the effects of various cleaning and liquid/gaseous sanitizing protocols for decontamination of food processing equipment and facilities with spores of several potential surrogate Bacillus species including B. anthracis Sterne strains, with validation under controlled conditions using B...

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