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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: New Research at the USDA ARS on Detection of Crude Botulinum Neurotoxin in Food

item Carter, John
item Binder, Ronald
item Stanker, Larry
item Brandon, David

Submitted to: Interagency Botulism Research Committee
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 8, 2005
Publication Date: December 8, 2005
Citation: Carter, J.M., Binder, R.G., Stanker, L.H., Brandon, D.L. 2005. New research at the usda ars on detection of crude botulinum neurotoxin in food. [Abstract]. Interagency Botulism Research Committee. Poster 4.

Technical Abstract: Most research on oral toxicity of Clostridium botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) has been performed with purified toxin in a buffer matrix. However, intentional adulteration of food in an act of bioterrorism would probably involve a crude toxin preparation introduced into a complex food matrix, such as ground meat, liquid eggs, or milk. In order to develop relevant data, we are dosing mice with BoNT by feeding them these foods contaminated with crude toxin preparations. In addition we are developing immunochemical, biochemical, and molecular biological tests for detection of BoNT and appropriate surrogate compounds. These surrogates include nucleic acids and proteins specific for C. botulinum. We will also study time-temperature relationships for thermal inactivation of BoNT. Heat-inactivated toxin may present a positive signal in some immunochemical assays, even though biological activity is destroyed. Thus biochemical assays may prove to be more reliable. To optimize BoNT assays in food, we are developing sample preparation strategies for improved recovery of toxin from these challenging sample matrices. Our initial work is focused on BoNT serotype A as a model for the various BoNT serotypes, and we are also conducting similar studies on ricin. Finally, we will examine possible synergy between biothreat toxins.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015