According to research published by Phys.org, chicken meat and other foods will be able to be screened for bacteria faster and more effectively because of groundbreaking nanobiotechnology research.
A team of scientists from The University of Queensland, Australia, a research-intensive institution in the top 1% of universities world-wide, along with the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, have developed a new technology which enables DNA amplification on “microspheres” to rapidly detect and identify large numbers of different bacteria.
“We hope to use this new technology to be able to detect and type the bacteria Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli. These quick identification techniques can underpin relevant and sustainable programs to further improve food safety,” said Professor Ross Barnard, Director of the Biotechnology Program at the UQ School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences.
“The infectious dose for Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli can be very low – around 500 organisms. This means that sensitive, specific and rapid techniques are particularly important for this organism,” said Professor Barnard.
Barnard adds that while testing methods exist, they’re slow and less effective, so scientists concentrated on improving “microsphere” technology.
“After five years, we are now able to extend and develop the platform in ways that haven’t been done before,” Professor Barnard said.
“We will now be able to carry out many typing reactions at once by doing a very large number of DNA amplification reactions at the same time on the surface of the microspheres.”
The discovery took five years of intensive research and the full benefits have yet to be determined.
The new technology has attracted global interest, and was highlighted in the international journal Analytical Biochemistry, resulting in an invitation to present the work at the Luminex International Diagnostics Forum in Monaco.
“This is just the beginning. Because this testing is based on a platform technology it can be applied in many different ways, such as mutation screening in plant, animal and human genomes, as well as for applications in the realm of infectious diseases,” said Professor Barnard.
Whether the application and use of this new technology is actually used by corporate food conglomerates and/or government agencies is another story, and remains to be seen.
January 18th, 2013