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Enhancing the Detection of Giardia and Cryptosporidium in Foods Using Microfluidic Inertial Separation Chips

Investigators
Dixon, Brent
Institutions
Health Canada, Food Directorate, Bureau of Microbial Hazards
Start date
2011
End date
2012
Objective
1. To develop, integrate and validate a high-throughput, non-clogging microfluidics-based platform for the rapid isolation of Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocysts from food debris and inhibitors in order to improve the speed, sensitivity and specificity of food testing by microscopical or PCR-based methods in surveillance studies and outbreak investigations.

2. This innovative sample preparation technology is able to handle large volumes of food and water samples rapidly and efficiently. The proposed approach will allow the elimination of particulate debris and inhibitors through a universal sample preparation platform which performs rapid dynamic filtration and pathogen concentration using inertial separation.

3. Once optimized, the cyst and oocyst recovery efficiencies for the microfluidics-based protocols will be compared to the more traditional centrifugation methods often used in foods.

More information
Expected Benefits:
The research will develop and optimize a novel technology involving microfluidics. This innovative sample preparation technology removes particulate debris and inhibitors through a universal sample preparation platform which performs rapid dynamic filtration and pathogen concentration using inertial separation. The separation of Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia cysts from debris particles and PCR inhibitors in implicated foods such as fresh berries and leafy greens, will allow for cleaner suspensions and a greater chance of detection by either microscopy or PCR.

This technology will greatly benefit food safety professionals when investigating foodborne outbreaks in which samples of epidemiologically implicated foods are available for testing. It will also provide rapid and sensitive results in surveillance studies such as the current collaborative investigation between Dr. Dixon's laboratory and the C-EnterNet Program (PHAC) on the presence of protozoan parasites in retail fresh produce in Ontario.

Funding Source
Ontario Min. of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs
Project number
SF6095
Categories
Bacterial Pathogens