Industry News

Our news page will keep you informed of press releases and news articles on rapid and alternative microbiological method technologies and updates from technology suppliers.

Please click here to submit your news.

FDA Contest Winners Work to Speed Food Pathogen Tests

Produce growers and shippers who say test-and-hold screening takes too much time may not have that excuse much longer as a new method promises to reduce two-day sample preparation time to two hours.

The new method earned a group of researchers at Purdue University the grand prize in the Food and Drug Administration’s first Food Safety Challenge contest. The agency awarded the Purdue group $300,000 in what FDA officials have said will be an annual competition.

Pronucleotein Inc., a San Antonio biotechnology company, won the runner-up title and a $100,000 prize for a portable rapid pathogen screening system that researchers say will provide test results in about 30 minutes.

The researchers from Purdue, led Michael Ladisch, have been working on their salmonella microfiltration concentration preparation method for about seven years, according the FDA’s contest blog.

For the blog, FDA staffers asked a representative of each of five finalist teams to answer five questions, including what insights the researchers had gleaned from the competition.

Both Purdue’s Ladisch and John Bruno, vice president and chief technology officer at Pronucleotein, said the contest helped them better understand the challenges food safety officials face.

“The biggest insights have been on the needs of (FDA) with respect to the large number of samples that must be processed, the importance of rapid detection of pathogens in fruits and vegetables, and detection sensitivity required in FDA laboratories,” Ladisch said in the blog.

Other researchers working with Ladisch are Eduardo Ximenes, Kirk Foster, Seockmo Ku, Amanda Deering and Thomas Kreke.

Bruno said the competition gave him and research partner James Byron, CEO of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.-based medical laboratory Xgenex, a better idea of how to “ease the burdens of FDA inspectors at ports.”

“We now have a much better understanding of the problems the FDA faces in attempting to prevent foodborne illnesses from imported foods and we are better able to tailor our solution for FDA screening scenarios,” Bruno said in the blog Q&A.

The other three researchers and projects selected as finalists, which each earned $20,000 in the initial round of the competition, were:

University of Illinois and Purdue — a group of researchers are developing a “point-of-care” handheld system that incorporates sample preparation and pathogen detection. The team estimates that concentrating the cells takes about two hours and detection adds another 45 minutes.

Bart Weimer, of the University of California-Davis and Mars Inc., is perfecting a means of capturing and concentrating salmonella using a glass bead. The process takes about three hours.

Auburn University — Brian Chin and others developed a biosensor that can detect pathogens directly on the surface of foods in 2-12 minutes.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form