Research – Project looks for cost-effective ways to monitor Cyclospora in agricultural water

Food Safety News

Research funded by the Center for Produce Safety is looking for a cost-effective method to detect Cyclospora in irrigation water, including a paper-based in-field water test.

The project seeks to use short strands of synthesized DNA, or aptamers, to bind to the target of interest — in this case, Cyclospora’s transmission stage.

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a protozoan parasite, that is nearly impossible to culture in the laboratory and requires complicated microscopy for detection in samples.

Lia Stanciu, Ph.D., with Purdue University, lead researcher on the project said,  “We were able to identify certain proteins on the cell membrane of Cyclospora that are unique only to Cyclospora and to which we can bind some DNA sequences.”

“We can synthesize those DNA-specific molecules. The next step would be to integrate those DNA molecules into something similar to a rapid COVID test or pregnancy test.”

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