Submitted to: Foodborne Pathogens and Disease
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2004
Publication Date: 9/1/2004
Citation: Whiteaker, J., Karns, J.S., Fenselau, C., Perdue, M.L. 2004. Analysis of Bacillus anthracis spores in milk using mass spectrometry. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. l(3):185-194. Interpretive Summary: Rapid detection of biological agents in food remains a high priority for food safety regulators. In this study, a new approach to identify anthrax spores in milk was tested. The best approach appears to be using antibodies bound to magetic beads which pull the spores out of the milk with a magnet. Rapid mass spectrometry can then be used to unequivocally identify the spores as Bacillus anthracis. This could be a useful rapid approach to identify this biological agent as well as other agents in milk.
Technical Abstract: New approaches for identifying biological threat agents in raw milk using spectroscopy were tested using Bacillus anthracis (BA) Sterne strain spores seeded into unpasteurized bulk tank milk. Direct filtration onto Tyvek' membranes provided the optimal filtration approach from raw milk, but detection limits were not ideal. When beads coated with anti-BA antibodies were mixed with spores in raw milk, the beads were capable of concentrating the spores that could be later detected and characterized by MALDI spectroscopy based on presence of previously characterized small acid soluble proteins (SASP's). This approach could provide a very rapid assessment of whether milk or milk products have been purposefully contaminated with BA spores.