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Agilent Announces Separate Food Safety and Chromatography Separation Deals

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Agilent Technologies today announced separate deals targeting food safety and protein sample preparation and processing.

In one collaboration, Agilent and the University of California, Davis, will develop a new process to reduce the time required to identify food-borne pathogens.

The deal calls for the integration of mass-tagged PCR primers with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, enabling the rapid identification of Salmonella serovar subtypes and other food-borne pathogens. The MassCode PCR technology is expected to reduce the identification time to a few hours from several days, Agilent said in a statement.

The mass tags, which are coupled to PCR primers, provide two unique identifiers per target and appear in the mass spec analysis only if the target is successfully and specifically amplified. Having two confirmation signals per target "significantly" decreases the chances of false positive results, Agilent said.

The rapid results achieved by the technology, it added, could result in more effective containment of outbreaks of food-borne pathogens.

"On a global level, the technology will provide expanded testing to target specific bacteria and remove implicated food items intended for human consumption," the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said.

Paul Zavitsanos, worldwide program manager for Agilent, said the development of MassCode PCR technology is the beginning of a long-term collaboration between his firm and UC-Davis in food safety.

Agilent also announced Hailu Kinde from the UC-Davis School of Veterinary Medicine received an Agilent Thought Leader award in conjunction with the collaboration. The award includes research funding and donated equipment with an aggregate value of $1.5 million to support the school's food safety research programs.

Other terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.

Separately, Agilent also announced a deal integrating its Bravo automated liquid handling platform with BioSystem Development's AssayMap high-throughput micro-chromatography technology.

Agilent's Bravo with 96AM head will be combined with AssayMap cartridges packed with chromatographic resin or immobilized enzyme to create an open-platform instrument for protein sample preparation and processing. The combination of the technologies will result, for the first time, in a true chromatography separations system on disposable 5 microliter packed-bed columns in a 96 channel SBS microplate format, the two companies said in a joint statement.

The instrument will be launched in January at the Lab Automation meeting.

Agilent will be the single point of contact for products built on the Bravo and AssayMap platforms. In addition, it will leverage expertise in sample prep applications to continue expanding AssayMap content portfolio, while BioSystem will bring new chemistries and content partners into the platform under their AssayMap Alliance program.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.