The proposed research aims at developing rapid viral concentration and nucleic acid extraction and detection techniques. Two potential virus concentration methods; adsorption-elution-precipitation and/or elution-precipitation will be investigated to concentrate viruses from selected foods. Furthermore, DNA microarrays will be developed for the sensitive detection of virus particles in the selected types of foods. The ultimate goal of this work is the development of a rapid and sensitive diagnostic tool to screen foods (and water as applicable) for the presence of food-borne viruses.
Expected Impact of Project Outcomes on Food Safety in Ontario: The development of novel, genetic technologies for virus detection will result in a marked improvement in the ability to detect, investigate, and control enteric food-borne viral outbreaks and related disease in Ontario. Furthermore, the development of rapid methods will aid in the evaluation and implementation of appropriate strategies to control viral contamination of foods, particularly in view of the fact that food-borne viruses are resistant to many of the traditional methods used to control bacterial pathogens. These rapid and sensitive methods will improve our surveillance capabilities, allow for developing a comprehensive database of domestically prevalent and imported strains of these viruses, provide tools for risk assessment, and would aid in the determination of regulatory options for monitoring food safety and epidemiological surveillance. This would allow the integration of a true farm-to-fork food safety approach for the management and control of viral food-borne disease in Ontario and across Canada. <P> For more information, please visit the <a href="http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/research/foodsafety/index.html" target="_blank">Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Food Safety Research Program</a>.