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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

Concentrating Bacterial Spores from Milk and Juices using Dielectrophoresis-Based Microfluidic Capture Systems

Principal Investigator: 
Suresh Pillai
A microscale prototype device that can be ultimately scaled up for concentrating bacterial spores from large volumes of milk and apple juice is developed. Dielectrophoresis (DEP) is utilized to concentrate Clostridium sporogenes as surrogates of Bacillus anthracis and Clostridium botulinum spores...

Heat Inactivation Kinetics of Spores and Toxins in Liquid Milk

Principal Investigator: 
Theodore Labuza
The goal of this project was the development of an easy to achieve thermal process (with or without added biocides) capable of inactivating B. anthracis spores and ricin in intentionally adulterated foods so as to dispose of them to minimize their release to the environment. In the event of a...

Micro/Nano Technology for Botulinum Neurotoxin Sensing in the Food Supply

Principal Investigator: 
Eric Johnson
The overall goals of this project were to develop sensitive and specific micro-scale detection systems for botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) that can be used to detect BoNT in intentionally adulterated foods or other samples and quickly communicate detection events using wireless technology. Additionally...

Bioluminescent Imaging for High Throughput Screening for Bacterial Pathogens and Toxins

Principal Investigator: 
Mansel Griffiths
The goal of the project is to develop cell-based bioluminescent biosensor for pathogenicity. The following objectives were planned: 1. Amass a collection of bioluminescent bacteria, both pathogenic and non-pathogenic, and investigate their attachment to mammalian cell monolayers, and to...

Hydrophobic Extraction of B. anthracis Spores from Liquid Foods

Principal Investigator: 
Francisco Diez-Gonzalez
The lack of effective pre-analytical methods for quick recovery of select agents in foods is a major weakness of our national food security system. Milk and other liquid foods that are potential targets for bio-terrorist attack with a number of select agents, including Bacillus anthracis. The...

Use of Commercial Household Sanitizers to Inactivate Spores

Principal Investigator: 
Michael Davidson
The overall goal of this project was to investigate the sporicidal capabilities of commercially available household disinfectants and other products against spores of Bacillus cereus used as surrogates for Bacillus anthracis. Products were evaluated in vitro, in milk, on potential food contact...

Rapid Testing for Botulinum Toxin using Egg Yolk Antibodies

Principal Investigator: 
Mark Cook
The objective of this research project was to demonstrate the capacity of the egg antibody platform in detection and neutralization of botulinum toxin. Anti-botulinum toxin antibody was produced by immunizing hens with botulinum toxoid in Freund complete adjuvant followed by several booster...

Bioluminescent Bacteria as Biological Sensors for Toxic Agents in Food

Principal Investigator: 
Evangelyn Alocilja
The overall goal of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of using luminescent bacteria as canaries for rapid non-specific and on-site detection of toxic contaminants in food products. The proof-of-concept results demonstrate that Vibrio fischeri bacteria can be used to detect toxins...

Electrochemical Biosensor for B. anthracis

Principal Investigator: 
Evangelyn Alocilja
A proof-of-concept electrochemical biosensor for quickly detecting Bacillus anthracis spores has been developed. The biosensor can detect the target in 6 minutes (from sample application to final readout). Sensitivity is 100-1000 spores per milliliter. The biosensor is reagentless and disposable...


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