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Syntherica Corporation

Superfund Research Program

A Novel Assay for Measurement of PCB Aroclors

Project Leader: Stephen B. Friedman
Grant Number: R44ES010534
Funding Period: Phase II: 2004-2006
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a major public health hazard. Project investigators are developing the novel Synthetide(tm)-based test array described in Phase I for the measurement of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in the environment. PCBs, developed originally as heat-exchange agents, comprise 209 chemical congeners that were originally marketed in 7 "Aroclor" mixtures. PCBs persist in the environment, enter the food chain, and are linked to neuro-developmental, endocrine, reproductive and immune system diseases and cancer. As such they are regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Method 8082, the EPA-sanctioned methodology for measurement of PCBs, employs gas chromatography (GC) to determine PCBs as 7 Aroclors or as 19 specified individual congeners. Reliance on GC increases cost and delays the completion of environmental remediation programs, industrial operations and research. EPA has also sanctioned antibody-based immunoassays (Method 4020), but only for screening. Oligonucleotide-based Synthetides(tm) incorporate the desirable attributes of antibodies but avoid the requirement for animals and are produced with great speed. Syntherica has developed sample processing methodology that allows PCB-containing oils/solvents to be tested in aqueous assays. The resulting technology combines the speed and convenience of an immunoassay with the multi-compound profiling ability of an analytical method. The goal of this project is to develop a Synthetide(tm)-based array for the detection of Aroclors(r) that is faster, cheaper and more widely applicable than GC and that can replace EPA Method 8082. Dr. Friedman and his team anticipate that this array will become the de facto standard method for field and laboratory testing of PCBs.

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