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Agdia Inc., a leading provider of agricultural diagnostic tests and services, has commercialized a rapid identification kit for Solenopsis invicta, also known as the red imported fire ant.
The red imported fire ant (RIFA) is an invasive ant species native to South America that was introduced to North America in the 1930’s. Globally, RIFA has been reported in multiple Caribbean islands, parts of Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. This ant species is responsible for billions of dollars of loss to the agricultural industry and poses a safety risk to human and animal health due its aggressive behavior and toxic venom.
Agdia’s new identification kit is based on their widely used ImmunoStrip® platform and will be sold under the brand name InvictDetect™. The test works by crushing 3 to 5 suspect worker ants in a tube with extraction buffer. The ImmunoStrip® is then inserted into the extract for 10 minutes. During this time, specifically labeled antibodies come into contact with the extract and bind to a protein in the venom, if present, that is unique to the RIFA. As this antibody-venom protein complex continues to flow up the ImmunoStrip®, it will pass over another set of antibodies that capture the aforementioned complex, forming a positive test line. The final results appear similar to those of a pregnancy test where two lines, control and test, indicate a positive result, whereas a control line only indicates a negative result.
Visual identification of RIFA is difficult and prone to error, requiring expertise in ant taxonomy and morphology. Molecular identification of RIFA occurs using a laboratory DNA test called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR is a highly specific and sensitive method of testing; however, it is laborious and can only be completed in a laboratory by skilled technicians. The InvictDetect™ImmunoStrip® changes the dynamic of RIFA identification because definitive results can now be obtained on-site within 10 minutes, by users who may not have laboratory experience.
Each InvictDetect™ kit includes 10 tests and everything necessary to run the assay. Agdia provides a 1 year warranty on purchased kits. For more information on the InvictDetect™ ImmunoStrip®, visit the company’s website at www.agdia.com, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 1-574-264-2615 (toll-free 800-622-4342) or fax 1-574-264-2153.
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