New Method for Simultaneously Detecting Staphylococcal and Botulinum Toxins in Food

Researchers from Washington, D.C. have developed a new method that may allow for rapid simultaneous detection of staphylococcal and botulinum toxins in food. Their findings appear in the September 2005 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) and botulinum toxin A (BotA) are common causes of food poisoning in humans and pose high risk as potential biological warfare agents.  In the study canned tomatoes, sweet corn, green beans, mushrooms and tuna were spiked with both toxins and left at room temperature for two hours. Researchers used the Naval Research Laboratory array biosensor to detect for the presence of SEB and BotA and found it capable of rapidly and simultaneously identifying both toxins in complex food matrices. 

Here we demonstrate the rapid, simultaneous dose-dependent detection of staphylococcal enterotoxin B and botulinum toxin A, as measured using the Naval Research Laboratory array sensor say the researchers. The ability to carry out multianalyte detection in complex samples is a clear advantage for screening food, water, or air samples for hazards either naturally occurring or deliberately introduced.

Reference: K.E. Sapsford, C.R. Taitt, N. Loo, F.S. Ligler.  2005.  Biosensor detection of botulinum toxoid A and staphylococcal enterotoxin B in food.  Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 71. 9: 5590-5592.

Source: American Society for Microbiology