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Bactest Diagnostic Targeted at Breweries

Cambridge bug-busting technology is being targeted at breweries following a study that showed how effective it could be in removing any risk of bacteria spoiling beer.

Bactest is priming itself for a concerted push in the market following trials of its Speedy Breedy diagnostic device in the brewing sector. CEO, Professor Annie Brooking, told Business Weekly: “We are aiming to sell Speedy Breedy to breweries to help them shave days off the time they have to sit on inventory whilst batches are tested for contamination before it can be shipped.”

Speedy Breedy – a respirometer-based product developed by Bactest – was assessed for its suitability as a rapid microbiology tool for microbial brewing contaminants. Tests were performed with a number of wild yeast species as well as aerobic and anaerobic bacteria.

According to the report, all micro-organisms were successfully detected using the new methodology. Detection time was dependent on type of organism as well as cell concentration in the sample analysed. In most cases Speedy Breedy allowed a more rapid detection than traditional agar plate based methods. This was found to be particularly advantageous for the detection of anaerobic lactic acid bacteria where detection was achieved in under two days (at a concentration of ~2,000 cells/ml) compared to 5-7 days incubation required with traditional agar plate based methods.

Some wild yeast species were also detected very rapidly (11 hours at ~3,000 cells/ml) comparing well with the 3-5 days required for the traditional analysis. Additionally, Speedy Breedy allowed effective rapid detection of low cell concentrations (2-5 bacterial cells/ml in the current tests). The report adds: “The Speedy Breedy staff provided excellent training and technical support. The device was easy to use.”

Bactest recently raised £1.25 million in a round “dominated by business angels.” The technology has been devised and is also manufactured in Cambridge.

Bactest’s ‘Speedy Breedy’ microbial detector is being hailed as the world’s most versatile portable microbial respirometer and is aimed at both research and industrial applications.

Prof Brooking says Speedy Breedy addressed a core market need – to detect the presence and behaviour of microbes in a variety of sample types and applications, quickly, portably and without the need for expensive equipment and specialist people. She said: “Speedy Breedy is a clever little device that will change the way microbiologists, researchers and product safety teams work for good. Speedy Breedy has already received rave reviews and we’re delighted that from today, anyone can buy their own Speedy Breedy in a handful of clicks on the website.”

For product safety, Speedy Breedy enables the rapid detection of microbial contamination without the need to send samples to a lab for testing. It can be used in-situ, even on the production floor, and also provides an audit trail of measurements over time. When connected to a PC, Speedy Breedy enables users to visualise microbial activity in near real time.

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