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Colorimetric Detoxifying Sensors for Fumigants and Aerosol Toxicants

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a colorimetric sensor than can detect and detoxify fumigants simultaneously. 

Hydrodealkenylative C(Sp3)–C(Sp2) Bond Scission

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry have developed a new chemical reaction that combines ozone, an iron salt, and a hydrogen atom donor to enable hydrodealkenylative cleavage of C(sp3)–C(sp2) bonds in a widely applicable manner.

Combination Therapy as Enhanced Antidote to Poisoning

Certain pesticides can be harmful, and there is a need for effective antidotes that can reverse accidental over-exposure by farm workers. UC San Diego researchers have recently developed a therapeutic modality that is a combination of compositions that may be effective as an antidote.

Development of an Antidote for Cyanide and Sulfide Poisoning

Cyanide is a rapidly acting poison, which, along with carbon monoxide, is the major cause of death from smoke inhalation. For treating a large number of casulaties in the field, the best mode of treatment would be intramuscular injection of antidote, preferably by an autoinjector. The two treatments currently approved for cyanide poisoning— hydroxocobalamin (Cyanokit) and the combination of sodium nitrite and sodium thiosulfate (Nithiodote)—must be administered by intravenous injection. Thus, no agent currently exists for rapidly treating a large number of cyanide poisoned persons. Another rapidly acting poison similar to cyanide, is hydrogen sulfide. People are exposed to hydrogen sulfide gas in a variety of occupations, most notably wastewater processing, and agriculture and petroleum industries. Up to 30% of oil workers have been exposed to sufficient amounts of hydrogen sulfide to have symptoms, and fatalities are not uncommon. No specific treatment currently exists for sulfide poisoning, and treatment consists of general supportive care.

Early Diagnosis and Treatment for Citrus Greening Disease

University of California, Riverside researcher, Prof. Hailing Jin, has shown that several citrus small RNAs are induced upon infection by Candidatius Liberibacter asiaticus (Las).  These miRNAs and siRNAs would enable the early diagnosis of HLB in citrus trees and nursery stocks.  In addition to the identification of the miRNA biomarker, Prof. Jin also discovered that treating Las infected trees with phosphorus oxyanion improved fruit production.  These studies of the improvement in yield in HLB infected citrus was demonstrated in a 3-year field trial in Florida.  Fig. 1 shows the relative expression levels of miRNA399 in HLB infected citrus. Infected trees express high levels of miRNA 399. Fig. 2 shows leaves from trees that did or did not receive phosphorus oxyanion treatment over a one year period. Leaves treated with phosphorus oxyanion are healthier than leaves from untreated trees.

Cyanide, Sulfide, Methane-Thiol Antidote

Cyanide is a highly toxic agent that inhibits mitochondrial cytochrome-c oxidase, thereby depleting cellular ATP. Cyanide exposure contributes to smoke inhalation deaths in fires and could be used as a weapon of mass destruction. Cobalamin (vitamin B12) binds cyanide with a relatively high affinity and is used to treat smoke inhalation victims. Cobinamide, the penultimate compound in cobalamin biosynthesis, binds cyanide with about 1010 greater affinity than cobalamin and is 5-10 times more potent than cobalamin in rescuing animals from cyanide poisoning. Cobinamide is also an effective intra- and extracellular nitric oxide scavenger. Currently, three cyanide antidotes are currently available in the United States: nitrites, thiosulfate, and hydroxocobalamin. All three drugs are approved only for intravenous (IV) administration, and thus are not suitable for treating mass casualties as could occur after a major industrial accident or a terrorist attack. Thus, new formulations for cyanide exposure treatment that are faster and easier to administer are needed.

Antimicrobial Particle with Affinity for Diverse Bacteria and Bacterial Films

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed an antimicrobial particle with the ability to bind bacteria and biofilm.

High Frequency Digital Frequency Domain Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging System For Applications On Tissues

The technology is a software/hardware combination designed to enhance sampling rate for frequency domain fluorescence lifetime imaging. Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) is a technique that uses signals emitted from fluorescent samples to construct images of those samples in near real time. An advantage to FLIM is its ability to image large fields of view, which makes it an attractive option for dynamical measurements of live biological tissues. The higher sampling rate available using this technology will allow for more information to be gleaned from biological samples, which may have a fluorescence band up to 1 GHz, advancing tissue imaging.

At-Nozzle Injection of Agrochemicals

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a direct, at-nozzle system for directly mixing and dispensing a carrier fluid with additives.

Xylosyl-Xylitol Oligomers And Their Microbial And Enzymatic Productions

Lignocellulosic biomass derived from plant cell walls is the most abundant raw material for biofuels and renewable chemicals production.  Hemicellulose comprises about 30% of the total weight of lignocellulosic biomass. In contrast to cellulose, hemicellulose components are readily depolymerized into short oligomers and released into the liquid phase during pretreatment.  It is of great interest to convert the released hemicellulose components into fuels or other value-add chemicals for building an economical biomass conversion process. There are ten times more microorganisms than human cells in a healthy adult.  The symbiosis between the microbiome and human organs is increasingly recognized as a major player in health and well-being.  Xylooligosaccharides and xylitol, both derived from hemicellulose, can benefit gut flora and oral flora, respectively. Xylooligosaccharides (XOS, also called xylodextrins) are naturally occurring oligosaccharides, found in bamboo shoots, fruits, vegetables, milk and honey.  Industrial scale production of XOS can be carried out with much less expensive lignocellulosic materials by hydrothermal treatment or enzymatic hydrolysis.  A broad range of applications of XOS have been demonstrated, including as functional food, prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal infections, animal feed for fish and poultry, agricultural yield enhancer and ripening agent, and as active agents against osteoporosis, pruritus cutaneous, otitis, and skin and hair disorders.  In the current market, the most important applications of XOS correspond to ingredients for functional foods as a prebiotic, or formulated as synbiotics. XOS has been shown to promote beneficial bacteria Bifidobacterium adolescentis growth in vitro and in vivo.  It has been estimated that the prebiotics market will reach $4.8 billion by 2018. Xylitol is another hemicellulose-derived compound beneficial to human health.  For many bacteria and yeasts, the uptake of non-utilizable xylitol interferes with hexose utilization, which helps the human body to rebuild a healthy microbiome.  Xylitol has been used to prevent middle ear infections and tooth decay.  In addition, xylitol possesses 33% fewer calories but similar sweetness compared to sucrose and has been widely used as a substitute sweetener.  While chemical hydrogenation of xylose remains the major industrial method of xylitol production, microbial fermentation has become more popular in the newly built plants due to lower conversion cost. There exists a need for improved methods of producing xylooligosaccharides and related compounds, such as xylooligosaccharides with xylitol components.    UC researchers discovered a new set of fungal metabolic intermediates, named xylosyl-xylitol oligomers and developed the enzymatic and microbial fermentation method to produce such compounds. The detection and purification methods have also been developed.

Enhanced Cell/Bead Encapsulation Via Acoustic Focusing

The invention consists of a multi-channel, droplet-generating microfluidic device with a strategically placed feature. The feature vibrates in order to counteract particle-trapping micro-vortices formed in the device. Counteracting these vortices allows for single particle encapsulation in the droplets formed by the device and makes this technology a good candidate for use in single cell diagnostics and drug delivery systems.

Production of Glycolipid PEFAs from Yeasts

Method of using basidiomycetous yeasts to convert carbohydrates to glycolipid biosurfactants

Novel Molluscicide

  Background: Slugs and snails are among the most problematic invasive agricultural and horticultural pests. They cause crop loss, reduce crop yield and quality, cause product shipment rejection, and transmit plant and human pathogens. The most commonly used chemical molluscicides are toxic to pets and other organisms. These chemical pesticides are also harmful to the environment, are not cost effective, and with variable effficacy that is highly influenced by environmental conditions such as moisture.   Brief Description: UCR researchers have developed a novel potential biopesticide that targets slugs and snails using the recently discovered US strain of the nematode species Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita. The European strain of this nematode (Nemaslug ®) is being used to successfully manage slugs and snails in Europe. Recent surveys show that consumers in the US are willing to pay more for a more effective and environmentally safe pest management alternative for these invasive gastropods. Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita (singly or in combination with P. californica or P. papillosa) can be used effectively to manage slug and snail infestations, notably European brown garden snail (Cornu aspersum), Giant African land snail (Lissachatina fulica), gray field slug (Deroceras reticulatum) and greenhouse slug (Lehmannia valentiana).  

Development Of Pheromone-Assisted Techniques To Improve Efficacy Of Insecticide Baits Targeting Urban Pest And Species

Background: The pest control industry incurs an estimated $1.7B in damages every year. Current pest management techniques result in insecticide runoff and environmental contamination, which calls for improved bait technologies. Since most urban pests of interest use pheromones for organization and coordination of their colonies, many researchers have explored the possibility of using synthetic trail pheromones as an alternative strategy to mitigate this issue.   Brief Description: UCR Researchers have developed insecticidal baits that use highly target-specific control technologies. This novel pheromone-assisted technique (PAT) has little impact on the environment and non-target organisms. By combining the attractant pheromone of ants and existing bait matrices, they increased discovery and consumption of the baits by foraging ants, thus maximizing efficacy of the baits applied. Moreover, they have produced significant results at extremely low concentrations of the pheromone-assisted bait in comparison to the ones that are currently being used.

Novel Synthesis of 2,5- Dimethylfuran from 5- (Chloromethyl)furfural

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed an efficient synthesis of 2,5- dimethylfuran (DMF) from 5- (chloromethyl)furfural (CMF).

Drug-Like Compounds That Enhance Plant Immunity And Growth

Background: Due to the rapidly increasing demand of food production, agricultural biotechnology companies are aiming to improve crop productivity. Biotechnology tools that develop novel plant traits are projected to have a $1.3B global market with annual growth of 49.9% by 2019.  Brief Description: UCR Researchers have developed a drug-like compound, HTC, that is structurally distinct from other agrochemicals and will rapidly induce an immune response in plants to ward off pathogens. Only a small dose of this novel compound is needed for optimal protection as well as growth enhancement. By genetically engineering the plant to have a stronger inherent immune system, toxic chemicals like pesticides are no longer needed to protect the plant. Its implementation can render decreased usage of agrochemicals that are harmful to humans and the environment.

Scanning for Spoilage of Food Contents in Metallic and Non-Metallic Containers

Researchers have developed a novel method to analyze the contents of closed metal containers to determine contamination in food products.

A Novel Approach To Asthma Inhaler Compliance Using Breath Measurement Of Tetrafluoroethane

The invention provides a non-invasive method to determine compliance and treatment efficacy of asthma inhalers. The method is divided into two components, which will measure hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) and then analyze the data to estimate pharmacokinetic parameters. Altogether, the HFA levels and estimated parameters will be used to determine the inhaler’s compliance and treatment efficacy.

Novel Catalysts for Use in Direct Production of Sugar Acids and Sugar Oligomers from Cellulosic Biomass

A method of production of sugar oligosaccharides and sugar oligosaccharide adonic acids directly from inexpensive cellulosic biomass. Researchers have engineered a fungus that can directly produce sugar oligosaccharides and/or sugar oligosaccharide adonic acids from cellulose without any addition of exogenous cellulase. Sugar oligosccahride adonic acids are valuable chemicals numerous applications in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food and chemical industries. Sugar oligosaccharides can be used as feedstock for further fuels and chemicals production.

Production of Glycolipid Biosurfactants from Yeasts

Method of using basidiomycetous yeasts to convert carbohydrates to glycolipid biosurfactants.

Shrink-Induced, Self-Driven Microfluidic Devices

The addition of novel surface modifications and use of shrink-wrap film to create devices will yield self-driven, shrink-induced microfluidic detection for samples such as bodily fluids. Novel fabrications and surfaces will have a profound impact on the creation of point of care diagnostics.

Superhydrophobic Induced High Numerical Plastic Lenses

The application of novel manufacturing techniques, chemical modifications and alternative materials produces the next generation of lenses. These lenses are inexpensive, contain improved numerical aperture and can be easily manufactured. Overall, these improvements create new applications for miniaturized optical and optical electronic devices.

Fungal Immunosuppressive Compounds

UCLA inventors have discovered a novel compound from a fungus that would have broad applicability for the treatment of human autoimmune diseases and transplantation rejection.

Synthesis of Boronic Acids and Boronate Esters

 In synthetic organic chemistry, aryl boronic acids and esters are of extreme importance due to their ability to form carbon-carbon bonds through metal-catalyzed cross-coupling reactions. These coupling reactions with aryl halides or aryl triflates have become one of the most widely applied methods for constructing unsymmetrical biaryl systems, which are widely used in pharmaceuticals and agrochemical industries, and are present in bioactive natural products. The Suzuki-Miyaura coupling reaction is the most popular method for synthesizing unsymmetrical biaryls due to its  general applicability and efficiency. The popularity of these coupling reactions has prompted researchers to explore efficient methods for the synthesis of boronic acids. Traditionally, arylboronic acids are produced via transmetallation of Grignard reagents or organolithium reagents with trialkylborates, followed by acid hydrolysis. Despite moderate to good yields of alkyboronic acid, this method produces a mixture of mono- and dialkylated products, demonstrating  poor selectivity.  Several alternative methods for synthesizing boronic acids have required transition metals and various exotic ligands. These procedures involve the cross-coupling of expensive boron sources, such as tetra(alkoxo)diboron derivatives or dialkoxyborane derivatives, with aryl halides and aryl triflates. In addition, these methods also require an excess of the boron reagent and low reaction temperatures. The synthesis of boronic esters also uses expensive and toxic catalysts including iridium, rhodium, and palladium.

Amplified Recombinant Cell Bioassay for the Detection of Dioxin and Related Ah Receptor Ligands

A researcher at the University of California, Davis has developed and characterized a new CALUX bioassay for the detection of lower concentrations of dioxins and dioxin-like chemicals within a sample. Non-exclusive licenses are available for UC's property rights in this dioxin-detecting cell bioassay and patent rights in the luciferase reporter gene as it is utilized within the dioxin-detecting cell bioassay. This cell bioassay system also contains components owned by the Promega Corporation. Licensees can acquire Promega permissions relevant to practicing this invention by executing a contract services agreement directly with Promega. UC can provide interested parties with a draft license agreement as well as a sample of the Promega contract services agreement.

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