skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Field application of pathogen detection technologies

Over the last 10 years there has been a significant increase in commercial products designed for field-based detection of microbial pathogens. This is due, in part, to the anthrax attacks in the United States in 2001, and the need for first responders to quickly identify the composition of suspected white powders and other potential biothreats. Demand for rapid detection is also driven by the need to ensure safe food, water, and environmental systems. From a technology perspective, rapid identification methods have largely capitalized on PCR and other molecular recognition techniques that can be deployed as robust field instrumentation. Examples of the relevant needs include the ability to: 1) declare a water distribution system free of microbial pathogens after a pipe/main break repair; 2) assess risks of contamination such as when produce production and processing plants are located near concentrated animal feeing operations; 3) evaluate the safety of ready-to-eat products; 4) determine the extent of potential serious disease outbreaks in remote and/or disaster stricken areas where access to clinical laboratories is not an immediate option; and 5) quickly assess credible biological terrorism events. Many of the principles underlying rapid detection methods are derived from methods for environmental microbiology, but there ismore » a dearth of literature describing and evaluating field-based detection systems. Thus, the aims of this chapter are to: 1) summarize the different kinds of commercially available sampling kits and field-based biological detectors; 2) highlight some of the continued challenges of sample preparation to stimulate new research towards minimizing the impact of inhibitors on PCR-based detection systems; 3) describe our general rationale and statistically-based approach for instrument evaluation; 4) provide statistical and spatial guidelines for developing valid sampling plans; and 5) summarize some current needs and emerging technologies. This information is presented both to highlight the state of the field, and to also highlight major questions that students may wish to consider investigating further. Where possible we will cite studies that have been conducted and published either in traditional peer-reviewed or other literature (e.g., AOAC International Methods).« less
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Resource Relation:
Related Information: Manual of Environmental Microbiology 4th edition
Yates, MV; ASM Press
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States