A Hybrid Pathogen Detection System

EPA Contract Number: EPD05044
Title: A Hybrid Pathogen Detection System
Investigators: Aguilar, Zoraida P.
Small Business: Vegrandis Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2005 through August 31, 2005
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2005) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , Water and Watersheds , SBIR - Water and Wastewater


Cryptosporidium parvum, a protozoan parasite that invades the gastrointestinal system, is a serious threat to the Nation's water supply. Assays for pathogen using self-contained microelectrochemical detection are desirable because precise detection can be performed with simple instrumentation on colored and turbid samples, minimizing pretreatment procedures. In addition, electrochemical detection immediately adjacent to surface-bound assay components provide rapid signals even for very low analyte concentrations based on short transport distances for reporter molecules.

Phase I of this research project involves antibody capture coupled with a mRNA-hybridization assay and electrochemical detection analysis of C. parvum oocysts. The studies are expected to demonstrate improvement over U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Methods 1623 and 1622 in several respects.

Vegrandis, LLC's proposed approach with twofold specificity has the potential to achieve rapid, onsite detection of ultra-low concentrations from large sample volumes with minimal or limited sample filtration or preparation. The detection of C. parvum oocysts from water samples will be used to demonstrate the performance of the approach. Success of this project will lead to the development of devices that will not only allow better, less expensive, and timely quality assurance and control of water supplies, but also will provide opportunities to study the fate of C. parvum in the environment from various sources to water intake sites as a function of weather and season. Such extensive and routine studies are not practical with current EPA methods of analysis.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, hybrid pathogen detection system, drinking water, Cryptosporidium parvum, C. parvum, electrochemical detection, analyte, oocyst, mRNA-hybridization assay, EPA, RFA, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Water, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Monitoring/Modeling, Biochemistry, Physical Processes, Drinking Water, cryptosporidium parvum oocysts, microbial contamination, Safe Drinking Water, pathogens, monitoring, microbial risk assessment, assays, water quality parameters, waterborne disease, exposure and effects, fecal contamination, mRNA hybridization assay, exposure, other - risk assessment, drinking water distribution system, cryptosporidium , public health, water quality, drinking water contaminants, immunofluorescent assay, drinking water system

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • SBIR Phase II:

    A Hybrid Pathogen Detection System  | Final Report