Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Wisconsin Wildlife
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Wisconsin Wildlife Project

Further Development of Forester Resonance Energy Transfer Methods for Detection of Botulinum Neurotoxin with Application to the Ecology of Type E Botulism in Lake Michigan

August 2011 - August 2014


Participating Agencies

  • National Park Service
  • Cooperative Research Unit Program

To gain a greater understanding of the environmental factors that contribute to botulism outbreaks among wild birds and to protect public health, a rapid and sensitive diagnostic test is needed to facilitate ecological research on the scale necessary to understand the BoNT/E cycle in the Great Lakes and develop appropriate management strategies. The goals of this research are to complete development and validation of FRET technology for the in vitro detection of BoNTs (especially BoNTs C and E) in biological and environmental samples. This will be accomplished by developing similar methods for the detection BoNT/C as were developed for BoNT/E activity. FRET methodology will be further developed and validated on archived animal and environmental samples that have been previously characterized for BoNT/C and BoNT/E. And following successful test development the FRET assays will be used to identify the degree to which various environmental samples, invertebrates, and vertebrates are associated with the occurrence of BoNTs in the aquatic food web, initially focusing efforts near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.