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Chemical stability of ricin under conditions that mimic pasteurization of beverages

Award No.: 
Principal Investigator: 
Peter Varelis
PI Organization: 
Illinois Institute of Technology
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 reports have addressed the issue of destroying stock piles of these biological warfare agents, comparatively little information is available in peer-reviewed articles about the inactivation of these toxins in a food manufacturing context. Furthermore, even less information is known about the conditions under which food processing and dispensing equipment can be effectively decontaminated of ricin and abrin. Such information would be invaluable in formulating a recovery program in the event of a terrorist attack on the food supply chain.
Analytic Methods Utilized: