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Fluorescent DNA Aptamer Test Strips for more sensitive and rapid assessment of food safety.

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2013-00405
Agency Tracking Number: 2013-00405
Amount: $99,977.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.5
Solicitation Number: USDA-NIFA-SBIR-003848
Solicitation Year: 2013
Award Year: 2013
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
4100 NW LOOP 410 STE 230
San Antonio, TX 78229-4255
United States
DUNS: 154088710
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 John Bruno
 Senior Scientist
 (210) 731-0015
Business Contact
 William Henderson
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Phone: (210) 731-0000
Research Institution

Most commercially available antibody-based test strips for the detection of foodborne pathogenic bacteria are rapid (work in minutes), but not very sensitive. Operational Technologies Corporation (OpTech) aims to improve the sensitivity of such test strips by using higher affinity and more specific DNA aptamers in place of the antibodies. In addition, OpTech will couple its aptamer-based test strips to fluorescent nanoparticles (FNPs) or quantum dots (QDs) because these have been shown to increase the visual sensitivity of test strips about ten-fold when an ultraviolet penlight is used as the fluorescence excitation source. OpTech will develop as many test strip prototypes as it can in Phase 1 using its existing patent-pending (U.S. patent application no. 13/136,820)DNA aptamer library for foodborne pathogens and toxins. OpTech will also develop new aptamers against the so called "Big 6" non-O157 E. coli which are known to cause disease and are now mandated for testing by the USDA. Finally, OpTech will investigate the use of its new Big 6 E. coli aptamers in fluorescent test strips. The end result of this research and development effort should be more sensitive foodborne pathogen and biotoxin detection in the popular and portable test strip format using fluorescence detection, leading to a safer food supply.

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

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