A McMaster University research team from Hamilton/Ont. has proven that food contamination can be detected by a strip. It took the team 15 years to perfect this task. I have discussed food safety, particularly in summer, before. I also pointed out several measures the FDA introduced to make food consumption safer.
The basic finding that food contamination is detectable by a strip
Essentially, there is a coating on a strip of DNA droplets known as DNAzymes. If this comes into contact with E.coli, it will lighten up with a fluorescent light. Professor Filipe explained: “If you can imagine that the DNAzyme is like a rope, and there are scissors that are going to cut that rope in a specific place, those scissors are the presence of E. coli.” He explained further
“On one side of the rope, you have a fluorescence molecule, on the other side, you have a quencher. If the rope is intact, they cancel each other out. But if you cut it with the scissors, and the two pieces become separate, it is now possible to detect the fluorescence because the quencher is no longer attached.”
Other food born bacteria
The research team is also working on other bacteria that cause food born illnesses like salmonella and listeria. They called this testing patch a “sentinel wrap patch”. It would be inside any meat package and either not turn color (no E.coli present) or turn into a fluorescent color (due to contamination by E. coli). This testing system is also suitable for water and other liquids.
Faster turnaround time of E. coli testing
The real advantage of this new test strip is that it is very specific. It has its origin on genetic sequences of the E. coli bacterium. Also, the turnaround time for the test is short. There is no need for the lengthy culture period of 1 or 2 days.The sentinel wrap patch would be part of the meat package people buy. As a result anybody would know instantly whether or not this meat package is safe to consume or not.
A research team from McMaster University, Hamilton/Ont. has developed a new test strip for meat. It will detect the presence of E. coli instantly in a meat package. There will be no more waiting times for culturing E. coli. The results of the sentinel wrap patch are instantly available. It will be a new tool for the consumer to prevent E. coli meat poisoning. Similar tests will be available in the future for salmonella and listeria. These new achievements signal that the consumer will soon have better protection from food born illnesses.