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Development of Simple, Field-Deployable Kit for Detecting Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Wastewater

Award Information
Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
Branch: N/A
Contract: 68HERC20C0026
Agency Tracking Number: B191E-0002
Amount: $99,998.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 19-NCER-1E
Solicitation Number: 68HERC19R0052
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-03-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2020-08-31
Small Business Information
12441 Beckley Street
Granger, IN 46530-9960
United States
DUNS: 148374627
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Fu-Chih Hsu
 (574) 277-4078
Business Contact
 Cho-lok Wong
Title: Director of Operations
Phone: (574) 277-4078
Research Institution

Antibiotic resistant bacteria have become a major concern in discharges from hospitals, wastewater treatment plants, and agricultural runoff. A quick, inexpensive, field- deployable method of detecting antibiotic resistant bacteria in these waters is desirable. Antibiotic resistant bacteria of concern include Salmonella, Staphylococci, E. coli, Enterococci, and coliform bacteria, among others. A product is needed that can detect these bacteria on-site and at low cost. Smart Gel is an innovative product that is easy to use and readily adapted towards various testing applications. This technology has already shown excellent results in recovering reference strains of E.coli, Enterococci, and coliform bacteria, as well as antibiotic resistant E. coli (Famp). By adjusting the components of the Smart Gel system and its standard application, the product can be adapted for use in the detection of many other types of bacteria in a range of water matrices. Preliminary testing of the prototype Smart Gel product indicates that its performance matches or exceeds that of three currently available methods for bacterial detection in water.Smart Gel is not only easily applied toward the detection of different types of bacteria, but simplifies the burden of water testing by eliminating the need for sterile petri dishes, thermal sealers, and costly laboratory equipment. The components of the Smart Gel system include plastic bags with powdered solidification reagents, small nutrient media packets, and sterile bags for sample collection.These flat, lightweight components reduce the initial cost of testing and shipping charges, and also reduce the amount of waste that must be discarded at the end of the test. The minimal components pose little threat to the environment and can be disinfected using conventional means (autoclaving or chemical disinfection). The potential market for Smart Gel is global. Hospitals all over the world could benefit from this technology, especially where antibiotics are heavily used. The field of agriculture would also benefit from this testing since multiple antibiotics are widely used in animal feed operations.Wastewater treatment plants are also part of the potential market. Smart Gel will be easy to use, inexpensive (approximately $5 per test), field-deployable, and highly adaptable. End users will be able to test water samples for antibiotic resistant bacteria without using expensive laboratory equipment or sending samples to laboratories.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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