Next Generation Sediment Toxicity Testing via DNA Microarrays

EPA Contract Number: EPD09020
Title: Next Generation Sediment Toxicity Testing via DNA Microarrays
Investigators: Hughes, Owen
Small Business: Eon Research Corporation
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: February 1, 2009 through July 31, 2009
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2009) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


The current SBIR solicitation states that the EPA is seeking “better sampling, analysis, and monitoring technologies” to improve hazardous waste management.  Development of new methods for testing contaminated sediments is an area of particular concern because many industrial chemical such as pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, chlorinated hydrocarbons, and heavy metals accumulate in sediments and can pose a significant threat to both human health and the environment.  Currently available Toxicity Identification and Evaluation/ Toxicity Reduction Evaluation (TIE/TRE) methodologies for examining sediments are difficult, time consuming, and expensive.  DNA microarrays have the potential be a practical technology for identifying, characterizing, and monitoring biologically relevant toxins in complex sediment backgrounds. There are, however, no microarrays for sediment testing organisms.  Eon Corp. proposes developing a microarray for one of the most commonly used sediment monitoring organisms, the non-biting midge Chironomul tentants.  In Phase I, high-throughput sequencing of a normalized cDNA library will be used to design a 72,000 element oligonucleotide array representing at least 10,000 distinct genes.  In Phase II, the feasibility of using these microarrays to identify toxins in TIE/TRE studies will be demonstrated by showing that distinctive signatures for a series of model toxins can be identified when presented within the context of complex sediment backgrounds.  By the end of Phase II work, environmental toxicity testing microarrays for sediments will be commercially available.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, EPA, sediment toxicity testing, DNA microarray, contaminated sediment, industrial chemicals, pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAHs, chlorinated hydrocarbons, heavy metals, human health, environmental health, sediment, Chironomul tenants, oligonucleotide array, measurement and monitoring,

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final