Feasibility of using microarrays for rapid and accurate on-site identification of pathogens in naval emergencies (PI: M. Duran)

E. coli microarray results showing the gene expression after centrifuge dewatering of biosolids
E. coli microarray results showing the gene expression after centrifuge dewatering of biosolids

Sponsored by: Ablaze Development Corporation

Duration:2007-2008

Budget: $68,744

The overall goal of the study was to investigate the feasibility of a fully-functional genomics facility within an oceangoing decontamination system that could be used for rapid detection of microbial pathogens including bioterrorism agents. For that purpose, two genotypic approaches for pathogen detection, namely polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based pathogen identification and microarrays, were evaluated. During the feasibility assessment, the research team developed an effective protocol for extracting intact nucleic acids, both DNA and RNA, from highly complex matrices such as ocean water and biosolids, a step long considered to be the biggest challenge in the application of microarray technology to the detection of pathogens in the environment.