Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Biological Sciences

First Advisor

John Geiser

Second Advisor

David Huffman

Third Advisor

Scarlet Davis


Food allergies have a large impact on the lives of millions of people worldwide. More recently, the allergic reaction to peanuts and peanut-related products has become a popular issue since the reaction they cause is one of the most severe. Food related allergies claim roughly 250 lives each year in the United States alone, with peanut related allergies accounting for almost 60% percent of those deaths. This research is designed to produce a rapid test effective in determining the presence of oleic acid, an allergen found in peanut oil. Oleic acid makes up over 50% percent of the peanut oil and is currently accepted as the best-guess cause of peanut allergies. There are currently no rapid tests available for the general public that have been produced to detect the presence of oleic acid, but a rapid test could help improve the lives of those suffering from the allergy by providing a means to test for a main allergen in them. The goal of this work is to design a rapid test that would help to figure out if there is oleic acid present in the food samples being tested. I plan to create a rapid test using one of two methods that I am exploring to determine which would be the most effective and economic to distribute to the public. The first uses yeast gene SPS19 to respond to the presence of oleic acid; the induction of this gene would produce a cascade of events, ending with the activation of the fluorescent protein, GFP. The alternative method would use an ozone generator to oxidize oleic acid, which would produce a product that will react with YFP and cause it to fluoresce. With no known treatment, a rapid test will allow an individual to avoid products containing the allergen and potentially save lives.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Included in

Life Sciences Commons