Food Toxicity Detection Using C. elegans

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Defense Health Program
Contract: W81XWH-10-C-0213
Agency Tracking Number: O2-1099
Amount: $750,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2009
Solicitation Topic Code: OSD09-H24
Solicitation Number: 2009.3
Small Business Information
P.O. Box 100, Ithaca, NY, -
DUNS: 022552900
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Kathie Berghorn
 Staff Scientist
 (607) 272-0002
Business Contact
 Noe Salazar
Title: President
Phone: (512) 656-6200
Research Institution
Current toxicity testing of foodstuffs involves mass spectrometry analysis which requires a>24 h turnaround time in deployed military operations. This length of time is dangerous for personnel. Rapid identification of toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) in food using a sensor that is biologically-based and easy to use eliminates that danger and would provide exactly what is needed for toxicity evaluation of food. In this Phase II, Agave BioSystems proposes to develop a rapid and accurate biosensor prototype using mutant C. elegans to evaluate toxicity in food. This biosensor will use the nematode C. elegans as the model system and measure Green fluorescent protein (GFP) that has been linked to inducible promoters of genes responsive to specific stressors. Extended shelf life will be possible because the dauer stage within the lifecycle of C. elegans leaves the worm in stasis for extended periods of time until growth is resumed with improved conditions. By measuring the GFP response in a mixed population of mutant C. elegans, the outcome should be an accurate and sensitive assessment of chemical toxicity in food.

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

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