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On-Site Multiplexed GMO Detector to Facilitate Traceability

Cogan, Stuart F
EIC Laboratories Inc
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Genetically modified (GM) crops and other foods are widely used because of their increased productivity, improved nutrition, reduced use of agriculture chemicals, and other benefits. Their use is controversial, however, due to the unknown health risks, as well as many socio-economic concerns. Legislations regulating the release of GM organisms (GMOs) have therefore been introduced, and full traceability for food and feed is required. This has resulted in an increasing demand in the USA for new technologies to test for the presence of GM traits. This is challenging in a system built for scale, speed and efficiency. We propose to develop a novel method for the simultaneous detection of multiple GM traits. The proposed method combines a portable biosensor that performs multianalyte measurement, together with a nanotechnology-based detection system that provides high signal amplification with good stability at ambient temperatures. The system is designed for food and feed screening to determine if GM material is present, the type of GM, and how much (%), and will have significant impact on product traceability, 'Identity Preservation' (IP) systems, and consumers health choices. The system addresses the need for portable, multianalyte, quantitative devices for rapid on-site or field applications in these areas, which to be compliant, require rigorous analytical testing at multiple stages from production to delivery. The biosensor will also have use in detecting GM proteins in the milk and meat of animals fed GM feed, and in soil used to grow GM crops. The specific aims of the Phase I are to demonstrate the feasibility of our system to simultaneously measure two common GM corn proteins, validate the assay by comparing its performance to lab-based tests, and demonstrate the advantages of the nanotechnology-based detection system. The Phase I program will provide a proof-of-concept system that will be developed in Phase II into a prototype portable system. Robust, portable, quantitative methods for rapidly screening GM product onsite will have a significant impact in streamlining traceability and IP, ensuring compliance, and discouraging fraud (unauthorized GMs) in the food and feed industry. The GM food market is a multi-billion dollar industry, and there is an excellent opportunity to create a niche for our technology, which has advantages over current methods. EIC has a commercial path for this technology through in-house manufacturing, sale of assays, hand- held assay readers and instruments, and out-licensing of our multianalyte immunoassay technology. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: This project seeks to develop an improved method for rapidly identifying genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food. The method will enable rapid onsite testing for multiple GMOs at the same time in a portable format, and will have significant impact on improving food safety and controlling the movement of GM material.

Funding Source
Food and Drug Administration
Project source
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Project number
Bacterial Pathogens