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ScanX Looks to Accelerate Rapid Testing Technology

Increasing the speed, scope and simplicity of pathogen and pesticide testing is the goal for ScanX Inc.

“We’re developing spectral fingerprinting technology that enables real-time testing for pathogens and pesticides on more targets with less expensive equipment.” Craig Carlson, president of sales and marketing for Palo Alto, Calif.-based ScanX Inc., said in an e-mail. “We have strong early-adopter interest in our technology, and our strategic objective is to bring pilot product by the end of the year.”

Carlson said the company’s initial offerings will be centered on pathogen and pesticide testing equipment and software licensing and the company has a planned pilot around listeria detection with a large leafy greens grower. The technology has applications for the entire supply chain, Carlson said.

With several patents pending, the company is in the process of raising $2 million in capital to expand infrastructure to support growth, supplement information systems, and further develop food-testing products and services. Carlson said.

Carlson said the company is working with Washington State University to validate its machinery and testing approach.

Conventional industry methods for detection and identification of foodborne pathogens, according to a news release, are classified as culture and colony counting method, immunology based method, and polymerase chain reaction method.

The downside of those methods, according to the release, is they are labor intensive and time-consuming, since tests typically need to include enrichment, colony isolation, and confirmation. That process can take from two to three days for initial results and as long as seven days for confirmation.

The company uses a Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy or surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) for its testing method.

ScanX aims to take lab testing capabilities into the field for “real time” pathogen and pesticide detection, according to a news release.

The company is supported by a partnership with a global spectroscopy company that develops, manufactures, sells and supports new optical measurement technology, Carlson said.

SERS could be applied for different purposes including, detection of foodborne bacteria and viruses, detection of food adulteration, chemical residue, differentiating the bacteria, detecting bacteria in human blood, rapid detecting the contaminations, and using it for rapid detecting the pathogenic bacteria.

The release said the technology offers promise to reduce foodborne illness, trim testing expenses, cut food waste and extend perishable freshness and cut recall expenses. Carlson said the company also plans to develop the first global contamination database to allow growers to see trends other producers are seeing.

Current rapid testing technology for pathogens delivers about a 75% level of certainty in test results; Carlson said ScanX scientists are aiming for 95% certainty or higher.

The company plans to participate in this years June 14-15 FutureTEC Zone at the United FreshTEC Expo, Carlson said.

The 2017 United FreshTEC Expo boasts more than 25 top ag tech start-­up companies in the newest show floor destination area, the FutureTEC Zone, June 14-­15 in Chicago.

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