MORGANTOWN, W.V. — Protea Biosciences Group, Inc. announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has acquired Protea’s LAESI DP-1000 System for direct molecular analysis. The system has the capability to identify and screen for mycotoxins in food that may be dangerous for humans and animals.

“The ability to directly detect micotoxins in plants and foods will enable a more comprehensive understanding of how these toxins function, and offers the potential for improving our ability to rapidly test our foods,” said Steve Turner, chief executive officer at Protea. “LAESI’s unique ability to directly and immediately analyze living cells will provide the capacity to identify mycotoxins in a high throughput format.”

Mycotoxins are toxic secondary metabolites produced from fungi, or molds, that may contaminate food. A wide range of health problems may develop from becoming exposed to mycotoxins.

The LAESI DP-1000 System allows the direct identification of molecules in living cells and fungal colonies within seconds to minutes. The quick identification tracks molecular changes over time occurring in molds or fungal colonies. Along with the direct identification system, Protea will be providing software to rapidly process the large, complex molecular information data files, which is much faster than traditional methods.