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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research » Research » Research Project #435410

Research Project: Rapid Identification of Fire Ant Species and remote detection of Fire Ants.

Location: Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects Research

Project Number: 6036-32000-051-08-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2018
End Date: Aug 31, 2019

Objective:
Develop versatile, accurate, and fast identification system for pest fire ant species; and develop a Smart Ant Trap system that remotely detects ants and sends photos to responding officials at the time of detection.

Approach:
Specificity of the reporter monoclonal antibodies for both black and red fire ant species will be determined by Western analysis and in lateral flow immunoassay format. Proteins from different ant species will be separated by gel electrophoresis and blotted with each antibody or tested in LFIA format. Ants in all subfamilies will be tested against the antibodies with Myrmicinae comprising the majority, as this subfamily contains fire ants and venom. Optimization of each antibody will be accomplished empirically by varying each clone and quantity. Lateral flow immunoassay will be developed and optimized on nitrocellulose membranes with a flow rate demonstrated for the established red IFA LFIA. Additional parameters also will be optimized, including sample pad material, blocking reagents, etc. The antibodies will be evaluated in both positions (capture and report) to optimize their effectiveness. In addition, the quantity of each antibody needed will be empirically determined. Optimized laboratory stick assays will be modified to comply with field testing. Smart Ant Trap: Dash Board: Development of a dashboard to handle many devices at once with a visual interface that would provide a user-friendly interface. This is the first phase of development towards the implementation of a visual dashboard for obtaining and analyzing data from smart ant traps (SATs). The DAV will be developed to visualize performance and extract analytic data from SATs. The DAV will allow data visualization for easy data extraction and analysis from multiple SATs. The DAV will run either at server or computer, which will receive data from SATs via Wi-Fi for rapid communication and centralized location during subsequent development phases. Software and hardware implementation and optimization of ant trap is experimental. Prototypes will be provided to USDA, or requested third party for assembly or further testing. Telemetric optimization. Switch from the wi-fi mode to operate in our own band, upon consultation with the appropriate authorities (e.g. APHIS, Customs). The micro-controller that sends and receives data to the transceiver, etc. will be re-design. Current devices operate with a sampling algorithm to reduce power consumption; however, optimization of the current device will allow improved life-time and extend operation to 2-3 weeks, with better resolution.