USA flag logo/image

An Official Website of the United States Government

Water Toxicity Detection using Genetically Engineered Yeast

Award Information

Department of Defense
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2010 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Army 08-174
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Agave BioSystems, Inc.
P.O. Box 100 Ithaca, NY 14850-
View profile »
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: Yes
HUBZone-Owned: Yes
Phase 2
Fiscal Year: 2010
Title: Water Toxicity Detection using Genetically Engineered Yeast
Agency / Branch: DOD / ARMY
Contract: W81XWH-09-C-0073
Award Amount: $730,000.00


The rapid evaluation of drinking water toxicity in the field is a necessity for the safety of our soldiers. To achieve field portability and sensitive screening for identification of toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) a handheld device that is biologically-based and easy to use with components that remain viable for 6 months would be ideal. In Phase I, Agave BioSystems proposed to develop an accurate and efficient cell-based biosensor using engineered yeast to rapidly evaluate toxicity in drinking water. Phase I results were highly successful in that Agave BioSystems developed a yeast biosensor exploiting yeast strains engineered to report changes in fluorescence upon exposure to chemical stress, resulting in proof-of-concept for this novel biosensor. This methodology utilized Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast measuring differences in GFP expression to ensure TIC detection accuracy establishing proof-of-concept for rapid detection of a range of toxicants between MEG and HLC. Additionally, this novel yeast strain can be lyophilized for long term storage and is expected to be responsive to several classes of TICs.

Principal Investigator:

Kathie Berghorn
Staff Scientist

Business Contact:

Noe Salazar
Small Business Information at Submission:

Agave BioSystems, Inc.
P.O. Box 100 Ithaca, NY 14850

EIN/Tax ID: 161551819
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No