[Company Profile] Pressure BioSciences

Over the past year, Americans have been subjected to a number of food contamination scares. Contaminated beef, peanut butter, cookie dough, and more have sickened and even killed many in the U.S. Last week, the U.S. House passed a measure to overhaul food safety laws.

When such an outbreak occurs, food producers are under pressure to find the source of the pathogen as quickly as possible. The technology developed by Pressure BioSciences of South Easton, Mass., is designed to assist with processes like these, and many others. Pressure BioSciences is developing a novel process called Pressure Cycling Technology (PCT) for sample preparation in the study of genomes and proteins. PCT uses hydrostatic pressure (the pressure exerted by a liquid when it is at rest) between ambient and ultra-high levels to release DNA, RNA, or proteins from samples within minutes. Current extraction methods rely on processes such as heat, electrical charge, or sonication, that can alter or even destroy the biomolecules. PCT offers an alternative that has been shown to recover the protein or nucleic acids intact. 

Pressure BioSciences already owns 19 patents covering multiple applications of PCT in the life sciences field, including genomic and proteomic sample preparation, pathogen inactivation, and protein purification. Other PCT-enhanced products from the company can be used for biomarker discovery, soil and plant biology, forensics, food safety, and counter-bioterror applications.

 Data generated by using PCT, compiled from three different U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratories, was presented this week at the American Phytopathological Society Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon. The first study utilized PCT to extract a yield of double-stranded DNA from Citrus Huanglongbing, a serious bacterial disease that affects citrus groves worldwide. Through PCT, researchers were able to extract 10 times as much DNA as they did through other methods tested. One scientist who participated in the study remarked that the DNA was of high quality, and that it would be valuable in gaining a better understanding of the disease. A second study presented at the convention focused on the use of PCT to extract DNA from a fungi species that causes “root rot” in wheat, barley, and other crops. The third study examined PCT’s role in improved testing for a fungus that can affect strawberries.

Pressure BioSciences aims to expand the use of PCT in the agricultural field. Several USDA laboratories and at least one Food and Drug Administration lab are currently using PCT technology.

The comments are closed.