Protea Biosciences Group, Inc. announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service has purchased Protea’s LAESI DP-1000 System for direct molecular analysis. The system will be used by the USDA to identify and screen for mycotoxins in food and feed that can be hazardous to humans and animals. 

“The ability to directly detect micotoxins in plants and foods will enable a more comprehensive understanding of how these toxins function, and offers the potential for improving our ability to rapidly test our foods,” stated Steve Turner, Protea’s CEO. He added, “LAESI’s unique ability to directly and immediately analyze living cells will provide the capacity to identify mycotoxins in a high throughput format.”

Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced by fungi (commonly known as “molds”) that can contaminate common foods. Studies have shown that when humans are exposed to small amounts of certain micotoxins they can develop a wide range of health problems.

The LAESI DP-1000 allows the direct identification of molecules in living cells and fungal colonies, with analysis completed in seconds to minutes. Thus, molecular changes that occur in molds or fungal colonies over time can be identified and tracked. Protea will provide the LAESI DP-1000 system to the USDA coupled with proprietary software for LAESI Data Analytics (Gubbs, Inc.), a data-bridging software that enables rapid processing of large, complex molecular information data files by downstream statistical programs, to enable USDA researchers to analyze molecular information much faster than traditional methods