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Wilmington researchers receive award for using chemistry to protect food supply

W. Mark Barbour, Ph.D., Mark A. Jensen, Ph.D., George Tice and Susan Tseng of DuPont in Wilmington, Del., will be recognized Sunday, August 18, by the world's largest scientific society for developing a system that can detect harmful pathogens in our food supply.

The DuPont team will be honored as Heroes of Chemistry at the American Chemical Society's 224th national meeting in Boston, along with chemists and chemical engineers from DSM N.V., DuPont and Solutia Inc. Retired U.S. Air Force General Brent Scowcroft will speak at the event about what it means to be a hero in today's changing world.

"These chemical innovators have significantly contributed to the protection and security of our world with commercial technologies that detect, prevent, alleviate or remediate threats to our health and safety," said Eli Pearce, president of the American Chemical Society. "The chemical advances made by these men and women serve as testimonials to the valuable role chemists and chemical engineers play in improving our lives. It is with pride that the Society recognizes them as Heroes of Chemistry."

Since the September 11 attacks, the U.S. government has become increasingly concerned about the safety of the nation's food supply. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that food-borne bacteria cause more than 76 million illnesses each year.

The BAX system developed by the DuPont team employs a common technique used for studying DNA -- called the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) -- to detect harmful bacteria such as E. coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella and Listeria strains. The system is designed to identify the pathogen's DNA using genetic information from food ingredients or a test sample. Technicians can prepare samples and run the automated system with little training.

According to DuPont, the BAX system can detect bacteria in just five hours, something that would take an addit
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Contact: Allison Byrum
a_byrum@acs.org
202-872-4400
American Chemical Society
13-Aug-2002


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