9/25/2008 1:45:02 PM

New Technology to Detect Foodborne Illnesses

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

 

Source of Article:  http://www.insideindianabusiness.com/newsitem.asp?ID=31694

 

Purdue Research Park-based Intelliphage has developed a method to capture and detect foodborne illness-causing bacteria such as E. coli. The company's technology promises to be quicker and less expensive than current options. Intelliphage's method can identify the bacterium's presence in food by turning it red or making it luminescent, allowing companies to detect potentially contaminated food before it reaches the consumer. The company is working on detecting and trapping salmonella, listeria, staph and Mycobacterium tuberculosis into its technology.

Press Release

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A Purdue Research Park-based company has developed a method to capture and detect foodborne illness-causing bacteria such as E. coli that promises to be quicker and less expensive than current conventional technology on the market.

The company's technology is based on discoveries by a research group led by Associate Professor Bruce M. Applegate in Purdue University's Department of Food Sciences.

Intelliphage, founded in 2008 by Applegate and Lynda Perry, a research associate in his group, has modified a virus that can infect a specific E. coli bacterium. This strain causes illness in people and is associated with eating contaminated beef or vegetables and drinking unpasteurized milk or contaminated water.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, there may be 70,000 infections related to this E. coli in the United States each year. The number is an estimate, however, because many infected people do not seek medical care.

Applegate's virus will identify the bacterium's presence in food by turning it red or making it luminescent, allowing food companies to detect potentially contaminated food before it reaches the consumer.
Applegate's virus, which is grown in a non-pathogenic lab strain of E. coli, attaches itself to bacteria it detects.

"Other companies say they can identify a bacterium within an hour, but it takes more than 24 hours to grow the bacterium before they can identify it," Applegate said. "That is because they need to grow 100 million cells of a bacterium before they are able to detect them.

"With Intelliphage Inc., we can locate one bacterium cell in just 25 grams of food, and that means we can detect the bacterium earlier."

Most food companies have luminometers for performing other tests, so they already have the equipment available to detect the luminescent bacteria, according to Applegate.

"The companies will not have to invest in new equipment to use our technology," he said. "Another advantage is that our technology allows the recovery of the bacteria. This is essential for food companies when they do food recalls to track the contaminant to its source."

Applegate is working to include salmonella, listeria, staph and Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the suite of bacteria that his technology can detect and trap.

*About Purdue Research Park*

The 725-acre Purdue Research Park (http://www.purdueresearchpark.com ) has the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country. The park is home to more than 140 companies. About 90 of these firms are technology-related, and another 39 are incubator businesses.
The park was ranked No. 1 in 2004 for university-affiliated research parks and received the 2005 Outstanding Commercialization Award, both from the Association of University Research Parks. The park's companies also have received numerous recognitions, including a 2006 MIRA Award:
Innovation of the Year for Purdue Research Park/Quadraspec Inc. and a
2005 CoreNet Global Innovators Award finalist.

The Purdue Research Park is part of the Purdue Research Foundation, a private, nonprofit foundation created to assist Purdue University in the area of economic development. In addition to the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, the foundation has established or is currently constructing technology parks in other locations around Indiana including Merrillville, New Albany and Indianapolis.

Source: Purdue Research Park

 

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