ToxiSense Develops Plant-Based Alternativeto Horseshoe Crab Blood 

ToxiSense is developing a plant-based alternative to test for bacterial toxins in vaccines and medical devices, which could eliminate the current need for  bloodletting of horseshoe crabs. ToxiSense was a member of the 2022 Pennovation Accelerator Cohort and was recognized as Runner Up for’s 2023 RealLIST of startups.

Company co-founder Aravind Krishnan, a current Penn student studying molecular and cell biology, discovered that genetically modified Arabidopsis thaliana plants, like horseshoe crab blood, respond  to bacterial toxins and could be used as a sensor to determine how much bacterial toxin is present in a test sample. This innovation is ideally more sustainable and affordable than horseshoe crab blood or its synthetic alternatives, but will have to overcome regulatory hurdles and funding challenges on the path to market. Despite these obstacles, Krishnan hopes his journey inspires other young scientists and emphasizes the importance of addressing societal challenges. Read more here.  

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