Scientists Detects E.Coli Using Infrared Technology
Purdue University said on Monday that a university food scientist found harmful E. coli bacteria in ground beef in just an hour by using infrared spectroscopy.
The discovery could help cut days off investigations of outbreaks, as the current detection systems take about 48 hours to identify the bacteria.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70,000 Americans are sickened by E. Coli every year.
“Even with all the other bacteria present in ground beef, we could still detect E. coli and recognize different strains,” Lisa Mauer, an associate professor of food science, said in the statement.
The spectroscopy method also can identify the different strains of E. coli 0157:H7, meaning outbreaks could be tracked more efficiently. Current tests use multiple steps and take up to a week to get results.
Mauer reported her findings in the August issue of the Journal of Food and Science.
The infrared spectroscopy equipment is “off-the-shelf and has been around for decades,” Mauer told Reuters in an e-mail. “You can find it in most forensic laboratories and many state departments of health.”
She said that ground beef tests show promise for using the technology to help find other pathogens. Mauer also said she has shown that spectroscopy can detect melamine down to one part per million in powdered baby formula.
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