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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Technologies for Detecting and Determining the Bioavailability of Bacterial Toxins

Location: Foodborne Toxin Detection and Prevention

Title: Sensitive bioassay for detection of biologically active ricin in food

Authors
item Rasooly, Reuven
item He, Xiaohua

Submitted to: Journal of Food Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 16, 2012
Publication Date: May 22, 2012
Citation: Rasooly, R., He, X. 2012. Sensitive bioassay for detection of biologically active ricin in food. Journal of Food Protection. 75(5):951-954.

Interpretive Summary: The potential use of ricin from castor plant as an agent of biological warfare highlights the need to develop fast and effective methods to detect biologically active ricin. The current “gold standard” for ricin detection is an in vivo mouse bioassay; however, this method is not practical to test on a large number of samples, and raises ethical concerns with regard to the use of experimental animals. In the present study we introduce a gene for a jellyfish protein that is highly fluorescent into cells. When exposed to ricin in food the cells become much less fluorescent. This method can be used for sensitive detection of ricin in food instead of the standard mouse test.

Technical Abstract: The potential use of ricin as an agent of biological warfare highlights the need to develop fast and effective methods to detect biologically active ricin. The current “gold standard” for ricin detection is an in vivo mouse bioassay; however, this method is not practical to test on a large number of samples, and raises ethical concerns with regard to the use of experimental animals. In this work we generated adenoviral vectors that express the green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene and used the relative fluorescence intensity in transduced cells for quantitative measurement of biologically active ricin in food without added substrates or use of cell fixation methods.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014
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