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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Environmental Microbial & Food Safety Laboratory » Research » Research Project #431570

Research Project: Development and Validation of Devices to Detect Fecal Materials in Produce Fields

Location: Environmental Microbial & Food Safety Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-42000-020-06-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2016
End Date: Aug 31, 2018

Objective:
The objective of this research is to develop and test devices to survey produce fields for fecal contamination. Produce is the single most important vector for foodborne illnesses, principally because produce is commonly consumed raw (i.e., without a kill step such as cooking). The critical importance of detection of fecal materials in produce fields has been established by a consortium of government, academic, and industry groups.

Approach:
EMFSL will design and build optical sensors packages for field use based on technologies and methodologies previously developed in-house. The University of Arizona will design and build vehicles to mount and transport the sensor packages for field use, and will provide microbiological services. Together, the scientists will conduct preliminary validation trials by inoculating test plots, running field tests in commercial fields, and publishing results.