George Mason Awarded Second Patent

Posted: December 8, 1999 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Thanks to research scientist Jenefir Isbister, Center for Bioresource Development, George Mason recently received its second patent for a test that detects potentially dangerous organisms in liquid samples.

Total coliforms and E. coli, indicator organisms used routinely to determine the water quality in drinking and recreational water, have become increasingly important in monitoring the safety of foods. As potential pathogens, total coliforms and E. coli organisms can pose significant threats to human health. Developed by Isbister, the “Biological Assay for Microbial Contamination” is a semiquantitative colorimetric method for rapid determination of the viable total coliform or E. coli concentration in a liquid sample. In 1996, Isbister invented a test for microbial contamination and the university received its first patent.

A Maryland-based company is manufacturing, commercializing, and selling these assays as biological test kits. Advantages of these assays over other methods of analysis include rapid analysis (8 to 10 hours for most applications), ease of use, extended shelf life, and low cost per test. In addition, these assays were developed for use in the field to facilitate onsite testing of liquid matrices. Currently, assays are packaged for commercial use, but future plans include extending the availability of these assays to residential and recreational users through national retail stores and online suppliers.

The Center for Bioresource Development, a research center within the College of Arts and Sciences, addresses diverse problems using an interdisciplinary approach to applied and fundamental research in cell biology, microbiology, drug discovery, and technology development. The center also provides a link between external federal and private research agencies to promote joint research activities.

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