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Sample Preparation And Assay Refinements For Pathogen Detection Platforms
Published 2009 · Environmental Science, Engineering
Food-borne and waterborne microbial pathogens are a potential problem in biowarfare and public health. Such pathogens can affect the health, combat readiness, and effectiveness of the warfighter in a battlefield environment and present potential threats to the civilian population through intentional or natural contamination of food and water. Conventional procedures to detect and identify microbial pathogens in food, water, and other materials can take days to perform and may provide inconclusive information. Research at the University of South Florida's Advanced Biosensors Laboratory (ABL) focuses on development of sample processing procedures and biosensor-based assays for rapid detection of biothreat agents. Rapid processing methods, including use of an automated concentrator of microorganisms in water, have been developed for complex matrix samples including ground beef, apple juice, produce, potable water and recreational water, enabling such samples to be directly tested by biosensor assays for target analytes. Bacillus atrophaeus spores and other bacteria can be concentrated from potable and recreational water at low levels with a dead-end hollow-fiber ultrafiltration concentration system. Target bacteria recovered by these processing procedures can be identified by evanescent wave, fiber optic biosensors or other detection platforms. Fiber optic biosensor assays have been improved to include subsequent PCR analysis and viability determination of captured target bacteria using broth enrichment and/or ATP luminescence.