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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #355120

Research Project: Advance the Development of Technologies for Detecting and Determining the Stability and Bioavailability of Toxins that Impact Food Safety and Food Defense

Location: Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention Research

Title: A rapid, sensitive, and portable biosensor assay for the detection of botulinum neurotoxin serotype A in complex food matrices

Author
item Tam, Christina
item FLANNERY, ANDREW - Pathsensors, Inc
item Cheng, Luisa Wai Wai

Submitted to: Toxins
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/12/2018
Publication Date: 11/15/2018
Citation: Tam, C.C., Flannery, A.R., Cheng, L.W. 2018. A rapid, sensitive, and portable biosensor assay for the detection of botulinum neurotoxin serotype A in complex food matrices. Toxins. 10(11):476. https://doi.org/doi:10.3390/toxins10110476.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins10110476

Interpretive Summary: Botulinum neurotoxins are one of the most poisonous substances known to man. Intoxication can lead to muscle paralysis and potentially death. The development of highly sensitive, rapid, and field-deployable assays is of critical importance to protect the nation’s food supply against either accidental or intentional contamination by bioterrorists. We report here that the B-cell based biosensor assay (CANARY Zephyr) consistently detects BoNT/A rapidly and with good sensitivity. Liquids such as non-fat milk, 2 % milk, and whole milk were compatible with the assay. Neutralization of orange, carrot, and apple juices before testing allowed for the detection of toxin. Liquid egg, ground beef, green bean baby puree, as well as smoked salmon were validated for use in this system. These results show that the CANARY Zephyr assay can be a useful tool in clinical, environmental, and food safety surveillance programs.

Technical Abstract: Botulinum neurotoxin intoxication can lead to the disease botulism; distinguished by flaccid muscle paralysis leading to potentially respiratory failure and death. Due to the significant morbidity and mortality costs associated with BoNTs due to its high toxicity; development of highly sensitive, rapid, and field-deployable assays are of critical importance to protect the nation’s food supply against either accidental or intentional contamination by bioterrorists. We report here that the B-cell based biosensor assay (CANARY Zephyr) consistently detects BoNT/A in buffer and various food matrices rapidly = 40 min, small volumes ˜ 50 µL, minimal processing of samples, and portable (suitcase-sized equipment). BoNT/A was detected at limits of detection (LOD) < 0.075 ng ± 0.02 in assay buffer while milk matrices (non-fat, 2 %, whole milk) increased the LOD to < 0.175 – 0.314 ng. Limits of detection for the assay complex foods were < 1 ng ± 0.0 (neutralized acidic juices-carrot, orange, apple); < 16.7 ng ± 7.7 (liquid egg); and varied from < 0. 39 – 3.125 ng for solid complex foods (ground beef, green bean baby puree, smoked salmon). These results show that the CANARY Zephyr assay can be a useful tool in clinical, environmental, and food safety surveillance programs.