Project 5325-42000-048-00D: Technologies for Detecting and Determining the Bioavailability of Bacterial Toxins
Emphasizing methods that can be used to solve practical problems facing the food industry and regulatory agencies, this project develops reagents and techniques for established as well as emerging assay platforms. Our approaches include immunochemical and activity-based assays. Bacterial toxins (such as botulinum neurotoxins, Shiga toxins, and staphylococcal enterotoxins) and their variants are characterized using these detection systems. New in vitro methodology is calibrated against animal bioassays, and the impact of food processing on toxin activity and bioavailability is determined. The availability of new antibodies and assays will enhance our nation’s capability to monitor for toxins in food, providing enhanced food safety and biosecurity.