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An improved bioassay for the surveillance of dioxins in the U.S. food supply

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2015-33610-23598
Agency Tracking Number: 2015-00793
Amount: $99,551.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 8.5
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2015
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2015-05-11
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
Knoxville, TN 37996-0000
United States
DUNS: 968832498
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Dan Morrison
 Chief Business Development Officer
 (865) 604-7713
Business Contact
 Steven Ripp
Title: Chief Operating Officer
Phone: (865) 604-7713
Research Institution

Dioxin and other dioxin-like chemicals are persistent environmental pollutants that threaten human and animal health due to their stability in the environment and their ability to accumulate in the food chain toward eventual human consumption. Incidents of dioxins being found in the food and animal feed chain have led to numerous recalls with consequent impacts on human and animal health as well as significant economic after-effects. The aim of this study is to design an improved assay for the detection and monitoring of dioxins in food and animal feeds. Using a unique assay strategy that consists of yeast cells that emit light upon contact with dioxin chemicals, it is anticipated that a sensitive, rapid, and cost-effective assay can be developed that outperforms the current inventory of dioxin assays and transitions screening toward assay formats that can be completed in several hours rather than several days and with no animal-based testing involved. Methods to accomplish this goal will include the application of synthetic biology to bioengineer the yeast cells to respond to the dioxin chemicals, with outputs focused on determining the sensitivity, speed, and economic savings associated with the assay. Use of this new assay technology will allow for expanded testing of food and feed commodities for dioxins without consequent increases in costs. This will permit government agencies and commercial manufacturers to test a greater percentage of the food/feed supply to provide a greater probability of early dioxin detection further up the farm-to-table pathway before products are released to the public. The resulting decrease in dioxin contamination incidents will ultimately reduce public health risks and improve the safety and security of the U.S. food supply.

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

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