Novel Toxicity Sensor using Genetically Engineered, Permeabilized, Freeze-Dried Bacteria

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W81XWH-11-C-0039
Agency Tracking Number: A2-4964
Amount: $780,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2010
Solicitation Topic Code: A10-157
Solicitation Number: 2010.3
Small Business Information
Agave BioSystems, Inc.
P.O. Box 100, Ithaca, NY, -
DUNS: 022552900
HUBZone Owned: Y
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: Y
Principal Investigator
 Julien Fey
 Senior Scientist
 (607) 272-0002
Business Contact
 Noe Salazar
Title: President
Phone: (512) 656-6200
Research Institution
Field testing of water samples is needed for broad and sensitive detection of toxic industrial chemicals, or TICs. The use of unicellular organisms in cell-based detection systems is particularly advantageous both because these organisms have developed a natural ability to respond to environmental changes, and because several methods for long-term storage with minimal maintenance requirements have been established and tested. Long-term storage of packaged freeze-dried cells with no need for significant environmental controls such as temperature eliminates limitations in the development of a rugged field-deployable device perfectly adapted to logistical requirements in a military setting. The need for a toxicant of interest to cross the natural barriers such as cell walls or membranes is perhaps the only significant limitation to the detection capability of any cell-based system. This will be addressed as part of the proposed effort by testing known genetic and biochemical approaches to the permeabilization of the bacterial cell wall to develop novel biosensors with broader and more sensitive detection capabilities. The Phase I established proof-of-concept for this novel biosensor. In the Phase II, a complete prototype will be developed ready for field testing.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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