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Project Abstract

In many developing countries, people depend on reasonably priced and conveniently available street food. However, lack of action taken by governments to regulate street food vendors has led to the prevalence of severe street food-related illnesses. One of the primary microbial contaminants in street food is E. coli O157:H7, which acts by secreting the Shiga-like toxin (SLT). Currently, there is no detection method for SLT outside of a lab setting, thus putting the consumers of foods at risk. Our project aims to develop a device that would be used by street vendors and restaurant owners to verify the safety of their products. Through our device, we exploit the binding of Gb3 to subunit B of the Shiga toxin, and compare the migration pattern of the bound Gb3-subunit B complex to a non bound subunit B. A shift in the migration pattern on a PAGE gel will occur when Gb3 is bound, indicating the presence of the toxin in the food sample. If no shift occurs in the SLT migration pattern, this implies the absence of the toxin within the sample, and reflects the safety status of the food.

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