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The Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research Unit focuses on improving safety, quality and exportability of high value agricultural products, such as pistachios, almonds, walnuts, raisins and cantaloupes.
Larval feeding by navel orangeworm, the primary insect pest of almonds, can promote fungal infection in kernels and lead to contamination with carcinogenic toxins. FTDP scientists are examining natural food additives for insecticidal and antifungal use on tree nut pests. More
FTDP scientists have found that hamamelitannin from witch hazel can promote growth of probiotic Lactobacillus bacteria, although it is known to inhibit growth of pathogenic Staphyllococcus. More
FTDP scientists developed a highly sensitive test for all known strains of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria by using novel antibodies. They are patented by ARS and may also lead to treatments for foodborne illness. More
Winner of the 2021 Pacific West Area Technology Transfer-Group Award
FTDP scientists have developed a sensitive, reliable and portable test for amanitin, the deadliest class of mushroom poisons. This immunoassay could be used in the field for detecting amanitin presence in wild mushrooms. More
Scientists in FTDP and the Produce Safety and Microbiology research units developed a rapid, easy to use test for botulinum toxin, as part of their mission to enhance food safety and biosecurity. More
Flight tunnel behavioral tests led to development of an effective attractant (pear ester) for codling moth, a major pest of apples, pears and walnuts. More
The Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research Unit conducts research to enhance food safety and biosecurity by developing new methods for analysis of toxins and bacteria in foods, and new strategies to reduce or eliminate mycotoxin contamination of agricultural commodities (especially tree nuts and figs). We validate these technologies and transfer knowledge to the scientific community, the food industry, and regulatory agencies responsible for the safety of the U.S. food supply.
Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research Unit (FTDP)
Jeff McGarvey, Acting Research Leader
Angela Burgess, Program Support Assistant
Phone: (510) 559-6428
Current Research Projects