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ERLN Biological Focus Area

EPA is focused on developing capability to increase national capacity for biological analysis of environmental samples.

Methods Development

The National Homeland Security Response Center, within EPA's Office of Research and Development, is currently developing and validating standardized analytical protocols and sample collection procedures based on methods identified in the Standardized Analytical Methods for Environmental Restoration following Homeland Security Events document.

The Environmental Response Laboratory Network’s (ERLN's) Methods Development and Verification Support include the following activities:

  • Technology Transfer Agreement with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for Select Agent polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays;
  • Development of Rapid Viability, Real Time PCR method for Bacillus anthracis (Anthrax), Yersinia pestis (Plague), and Francisella tularensis (Tularemia) detection by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories;
  • Methods undergoing single-lab verification: E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhi, Vibrio cholerae;
  • Potential DOD-JPEO-CRP Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for PCR and Immuno Assays for Biological Agent Detection;
  • Validation of environmental sampling methods in collaboration with CDC;
    • Wipes, swabs and ultra filtration water concentrator
  • Extraction of biothreat agents from soil; and
  • Development of methods for sample preparation and analysis for Salmonella typhimurium, Clostridium botulinum, Cryptosporidium spp., and Giardia spp. in soil and water.

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Additional Activities

  • DHS Technology Transfer Agreements
    • Rapid, Multiplexed Immuno-Assay for Detection of Botulinum Neurotoxin
    • Rapid Ricin Detection Assay
    • Multi-Application Multiplex Technology
  • USDA/FERN Collaboration
    • Adaptation of biotoxin assays in food to assays in environmental matrices
  • CDC
    • Validation of biotoxin assays in environmental matrices
  • MOU with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Laboratory Response Network with a focus on intentional biothreat agent release in the environment
  • MOUs with U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Emergency Response Network, focusing on all-hazards that threaten human health, the environment, and the food supply.

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