A new screening method to detect bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE)-causing elements in processed food will be developed through a new license agreement between Florida State University and ELISA Technologies in Gainesville, Fla.
Invented by Peggy Hsieh, a food scientist and the Betty M. Watts professor in Florida State's department of nutrition, food and exercise sciences, the screening method uses a novel monoclonal antibody to detect the presence of bovine central nervous system (CNS) tissue in processed food and animal feed products. Consumption of foods containing infected bovine CNS tissue is one of the main causes of transmission of the disease to people.
The main advantage of Hsieh's new testing kit is the ability of the antibody to detect the presence of CNS tissue even after the food has been exposed to high levels of heat, an announcement said. Currently, there are no useful testing methods for food that has been heat processed, creating potential situations where contaminated tissue could slip though established detection protocols. Hsieh's method also will be important in the testing of animal feed products in order to prevent the introduction of disease contaminated CNS tissue into animal populations.
"The antibody developed by Dr. Hsieh is incredibly sensitive and robust, creating an assay that can detect as little as 2 parts per million of the target protein. This method will be a valuable tool for industry and regulators," ELISA Technologies president Laura Allred said.