Whatman to screen for parasites in produce, water supply

Whatman plc, a global leader in separations technology, successfully completed its two-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This collaboration has produced the FTA Concentrator-PS, a portable two-stage filter that can detect dangerous parasites in fresh produce and water supplies. Before, the FDA used standard, time-intensive concentration methods to determine if produce or water was dangerous for consumption...

FTA Concentrator-PS will enable timely, accurate safety analysis of fresh produce and water contamination.

FLORHAM PARK, NJ, July 18, 2006 -- Whatman plc, a global leader in separations technology, today announced the successful completion of their two-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This collaboration has produced the FTA® Concentrator-PS™, a portable two-stage filter that can detect dangerous parasites in fresh produce and water supplies.

Before the FTA Concentrator-PS was available, the FDA used standard, time-intensive concentration methods to determine if produce or water was dangerous for consumption. The FTA Concentrator-PS provides a more sensitive and reliable field test for Cryptosporidium, Giardia, Cyclospora, and other parasites. It is also currently undergoing testing for use as a universal detector of harmful organisms.

"The FTA-based product has been included in a protocol published on the FDA's Online Bacteriological Analytical Manual," said method co-author Capt. Palmer A. Orlandi Ph.D. The field test itself takes as little as fifteen minutes, and definitive results can be obtained the same day. The kit will be employed primarily by regulatory agencies for routine monitoring of domestic produce and determining the source of water contamination; local water municipalities may also find it useful.

"The FTA Concentrator-PS testing kit is going to play an important role in the safety of produce and water supplies by pinpointing the source of harmful microorganisms in a much shorter time than any other comparable test," said Martin Tricarico, VP of Business Development of Whatman. "Our work with the FDA has ensured that the FTA Concentrator-PS is easy to use, so that field agents as well as local governments and producers have a simple, reliable means to ensure their water is free of parasitic organisms."

The FTA Concentrator-PS uses FTA technology, a Whatman-developed chemically treated matrix that rapidly isolates and protects nucleic acids at room temperature. The sample, such as a produce wash, passes over the matrix, concentrating and destroying parasites. The device immobilizes and preserves the organisms' DNA, which can be tested with a simple Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to confirm the presence of any number of parasites.

The Whatman FTA product family includes customized FTA cards designed for the collection and transportation of biological materials; FTA Elute, designed to release DNA in solution to complete multiple PCR reactions; and GenSpin and GenSpin Plant, hands-on kits designed for the rapid purification of genomic DNA from blood or plant samples.

A global leader in separations technology, Whatman (www.whatman.com) provides innovative life science products and solutions for the scientific community. It has developed total sample preparation solutions through our robust line of filtration devices and membranes. Our breakthrough protein array technology, coupled with unique innovations in capturing, archiving and purifying DNA at room temperature, enable us to provide novel solutions for the analytical, health care, and bioscience markets.

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