Researchers discovered new bacterial detection technique screening pathogens in meat

New promising method of pathogen screening

7:24 AM, 31st January 2014
New bacterial detection technique screening pathogens
Food leaving the factory with bacterial contamination could one day become a thing of the past with a new pathogen detection method.

WASHINGTON DC, US: Better bacterial detection of meats will reduce food poisoning. On the horizon is a new approach for pathogen screening that is far faster than current commercial methods. Scientists are reporting the technique in the ACS journal Analytical Chemistry.

Researchers Sibani Lisa Biswal and colleagues noted that Salmonella is one of the pathogens most commonly associated with foodborne illness, which can cause fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramps. An estimated one in six Americans suffer from food poisoning every year, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Many end up in the hospital, and about 3,000 people die annually. Conventional methods to detect harmful bacteria in food are reliable and inexpensive, but they can be complicated, time consuming and thus allow contamination to go undetected. Biswal’s team set out to develop a faster method to catch unwanted microbes before they can make people sick.

They used an array of tiny “nanomechanical cantilevers,” anchored at one end, kind of like little diving boards. The cantilevers have peptides attached to them that bind to Salmonella. When the bacteria bind to the peptides, the cantilever arm bends, creating a signal. The screening system rapidly distinguished Salmonella from other types of bacteria in a sample. One of the peptides was even more specific than an antibody, which is considered the gold standard. That peptide could tell eight different types of Salmonella apart from each other. The researchers stated that the technique could be applied to other common food pathogens.

 

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