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New Rapid Pathogen Test Is User Friendly

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In an ideal world, perhaps all of our food would be screened for pathogens before we consume it. But in reality, such testing is expensive and time-consuming for companies.  

Most producers do not have the capacity to test for pathogens themselves and must send samples out to a lab. Results can take 2 or more days to process. For companies selling fresh meat or produce with a limited shelf life, this delay can hinder their ability to get product out before it starts to expire. 

But a detection technology being developed by nanoRETE, a Michigan-based company, in conjunction with Michigan State University, will allow producers to test their products themselves, and to do it in under an hour.

The system, called X-MARK, works by using a pathogen’s antibodies to draw it out of a food sample via magnetic pull. These separated particles are then put on a biochip, which is fed into the reader, where an electric current will recognize a pathogen based on the pattern of its electrical current. 

“It’s simple!” explained Evangelyn Alocilja, who designed the system’s nanoparticles, in a phone interview. Alocilja is a professor of biosystems and agricultural engineering at MSU and chief scientific officer of nanoRETE.

Click here to read the full article on the Food Safety News website.