A team of scientists representing academia and industry are collaborating to improve the identification of contaminants in drinking water. Scientists at Missouri University of Science and Technology are working with Applied Biosystems (NYSE:ABI), an Applera Corporation business, and its joint-venture partner, MDS Analytical Technologies, a business unit of MDS Inc. (NYSE:MDZ) (TSX:MDS), to develop and validate new methods through which municipalities and treatment centers can detect a wider range of harmful chemicals.
This project is responding to the increasing prevalence of contaminated drinking water. For instance, pharmaceutical residues were found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans, according to a five-month investigation conducted by the Associated Press(1). Pharmaceutical and personal care products have also been detected in reservoirs, lakes and rivers throughout Europe, Asia and other parts of the world. These findings raise serious concerns about the potential long-term health risks.
Efforts to monitor the contaminants are underway in many municipalities and water treatment centers; however, the lack of analysis and validated methods to identify hard-to detect contaminants, such as disinfectant byproducts, cyanobacterial toxins and degraded pesticides, is further hampering testing. The scientists conducting this project will analyze reservoir water with mass spectrometry, which is an advanced scientific technique used to analyze compounds based on their molecular composition. They will utilize Applied Biosystems/MDS Analytical Technologies' mass spectrometry systems to develop new software-based methods that are expected to expand the range of contaminants that can be screened in repeatable, systematic ways.
The analysis and method development will take place on the campus of Missouri S&T. The university scientists will also validate the methods to save time and expense for other water testing laboratories, which will be able to access these methods through a pre-configured software application that will be marketed by Applied Biosystems/MDS Analytical Technologies. These methods will be optimized for use on Applied Biosystems/MDS Analytical Technologies' mass spectrometry instrument systems.
Craig Adams, Ph.D., director of the Environmental Research Center, and Yinfa Ma, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, at the university are leading the collaborative project with the joint venture. "Missouri S&T welcomes the opportunity to work with Applied Biosystems/MDS Analytical Technologies to develop the critical methods needed for water contaminant testing," said Dr. Adams.
For this project, the scientific team is employing a complete mass spectrometry workflow from Applied Biosystems/MDS Analytical Technologies that incorporates the 4000 QTRAP(R) system, which is a specialized mass spectrometer that integrates quantitative and qualitative analysis by combining triple quadrupole and linear ion trap capabilities. It is the only system of its kind that provides information to identify and quantify contaminants at trace levels. The software that will host the new methods is Cliquid(R) software, which is an application that simplifies the operation of LC/MS/MS (tandem liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry), an analytical technique that combines physical separation with mass-based detection. The new methods will build on the integrated functionality of Cliquid software by providing guidelines on the instrument parameters to identify and quantify contaminants.
"Authorities responsible for the water we drink generally recognize the need to better identify contaminants, but they are running up against limitations, such as which compounds to test for, and what technology and methods to use," said Andre Schreiber, Ph.D., the Applied Biosystems project leader. "This project is expected to provide the tools and protocols that will create a more efficient and thorough process."
The Applied Biosystems/MDS Analytical Technologies joint venture has a more than 20-year history of innovation and is a market leader in mass spectrometry with more than 12,000 systems installed in laboratories worldwide. It is focused on providing the required combination of platforms, software and workflows to help scientists advance their scientific based testing. These workflows are enabled by simplified software interfaces that provide quicker access to more accurate results. "Innovation in contaminant testing is driving greater visibility into the true extent of tainted drinking water," said Andy Boorn, president of MDS Analytical Technologies. "Applied Biosystems/MDS Analytical Technologies enables its customers around the world to advance their science in this field by providing powerful tools for accurate detection of toxins that will enable faster clean-up efforts."
About Applied Biosystems Inc.
Applied Biosystems Inc. (formerly known as Applera Corporation) is a global leader in the development and marketing of instrument-based systems, consumables, software, and services for academic research, the life science industry and commercial markets. Driven by its employees' belief in the power of science to improve the human condition, the company commercializes innovative technology solutions for DNA, RNA, protein and small molecule analysis. Customers across the disciplines of academic and clinical research, pharmaceutical research and manufacturing, forensic DNA analysis, and agricultural biotechnology use the company's tools and services to accelerate scientific discovery, improve processes related to drug discovery and development, detect potentially pathogenic microorganisms, and identify individuals based on DNA sources. Applied Biosystems has a comprehensive service and field applications support team for a global installed base of high-performance genetic and protein analysis solutions. Applied Biosystems Inc. is headquartered in Norwalk, CT.
On June 12, 2008, Applera Corporation and Invitrogen Corporation (NASDAQ:IVGN) announced that their Boards of Directors had approved a definitive merger agreement under which Invitrogen will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Applied Biosystems stock. The merger is subject to customary closing conditions and is targeted to close in the fall of 2008. Further information regarding the merger has been provided in a joint proxy statement/prospectus mailed to stockholders of the company and Invitrogen. Investors and security holders are urged to read this document because it contains important information. Informationabout Applied Biosystems, including reports and other information filed by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is available at http://www.appliedbiosystems.com. All information in this news release is as of the date of the release, and Applied Biosystems does not undertake any duty to update this information unless required by law.
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