Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Food & Beverage Analysis
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

Sensor Detects Harmful Bacteria on Food Industry Surfaces

Published: Thursday, June 26, 2014
Last Updated: Friday, July 11, 2014
Bookmark and Share
A new device designed to sample and detect foodborne bacteria is being trialled by scientists at the University of Southampton.

The Biolisme project is using research from the University to develop a sensor capable of collecting and detecting Listeria monocytogenes on food industry surfaces, thereby preventing contaminated products from entering the market.

Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogen that causes listeriosis, an infection with symptoms of fever, vomiting and diarrhoea, that can spread to other parts of the body and lead to more serious complications, like meningitis.

Transmitted by ready-to-eat foods, such as milk, cheese, vegetables, raw and smoked fish, meat and cold cuts, Listeria monocytogenes has the highest hospitalisation (92 per cent) and death (18 per cent) rate among all foodborne pathogens. Listeriosis mainly affects pregnant women, new-born children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems.

Current techniques to detect the bacteria take days of testing in labs, but the new device aims to collect and detect the pathogen on location within three to four hours. This early and rapid detection can avoid the cross contamination of ready-to-eat food products.

Traditional methods of testing, where sample cells are cultivated in labs, are also flawed. ‘Stressed' cells will not grow in cultures (and will therefore produce negative results) despite the bacteria being present, live and potentially harmful.

Alternative techniques, based on molecular methods, will detect all cell types, but don't differentiate between live and harmless dead cells, which can remain after disinfection.

The new device is designed to sample single cells and biofilms - groups of microorganisms where cells stick together on surfaces. Compressed air and water is used to remove the cells before they are introduced to an antibody. If Listeria monocytogenes is present, cells react with the antibody to produce a florescent signal, which is detected by a special camera.

Doctor Salomé Gião and Professor Bill Keevil from Southampton's Centre for Biological Science Unit have been studying Listeria monocytogenesbiofilms under different conditions and will be testing the new prototype. "We researched biofilms under different stresses to find the optimum pressure to remove cells from different surfaces, without disrupting the cells themselves," says Dr Gião. "We also found that biofilms can form on surfaces even if they are covered in tap water.

"The scientific research we have carried out at the University of Southampton has been used by our Biolisme project partners to develop a device which will have major implications for the food industry. By making the process simpler we hope that testing will be conducted more frequently, thereby reducing the chance of infected food having to be recalled or making its way to the consumer."

The prototype sensor has been finalised in France and field trials are now underway to test the device before it is demonstrated in food factories.

José Belenguer Ballester, from project partner ainia centro tecnológico, added: "Biolisme has raised the expectations of food business operators because the devices being developed will allow rapid assessment of the cleanliness of manufacturing plants."

The Biolisme project was started in 2009 by a consortium of six partners from four different countries and is funded by the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7).

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,800+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 4,000+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

£1.4M Funding to Safeguard Global Food Security
Researchers are part of a project that has received £1.4 million in new funding to explore how plants manipulate soils to extract more water and nutrients.
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Honeybees' Foraging for Flowers Masked by Diesel Fumes
Exposure to common air pollutants found in diesel exhaust pollution can affect the ability of honeybees to recognise floral odours, new University of Southampton research shows.
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Scientific News
The MaxSignal Colistin ELISA Test Kit from Bioo Scientific
Kit can help prevent the antibiotic apocalypse by keeping last resort drugs out of the food supply.
Kitchen Utensils Can Spread Bacteria Between Foods
In a recent study researchers found that produce that contained bacteria would contaminate other produce items through the continued use of knives or graters—the bacteria would latch on to the utensils commonly found in consumers' homes and spread to the next item.
GMO Food Animals Should be Judged by Product, Not Process
In a world with a burgeoning demand for meat, milk and eggs, regulatory policies around the use of biotechnologies in agriculture need to be based on the safety and attributes of those foods rather than on the methods used to produce them, says a UC Davis animal scientist.
Acetaldehyde and Formaldehyde Content in Foods
Korean researchers have determined the content of the toxic and carcinogenic aldehydes, acetaldehyde and formaldehyde, in a variety of food groups.
Increasing Vitamin D Supplementation
New study from ETH Zurich finds that elderly women should consume more vitamin D than previously recommended during the winter months.
IARC Monographs Evaluate Consumption of Red Meat and Processed Meat
Processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 18%.
Nanoparticles in Foods Raise Safety Questions
Nanoparticles can make foods like jawbreaker candies brighter and creamier and keep them fresh longer. But researchers are still in the dark about what the tiny additives do once inside our bodies.
Arsenic Found in Many U.S. Red Wines
A new University of Washington study that tested 65 wines from America’s top four wine-producing states — California, Washington, New York and Oregon — found all but one have arsenic levels that exceed what’s allowed in drinking water.
Viruses Join Fight Against Harmful Bacteria
Engineered viruses could combat human disease and improve food safety.
Plastic for Dinner
Roughly a quarter of the fish sampled from fish markets in California and Indonesia contained man-made debris according to a study from the University of California, Davis, and Hasanuddin University in Indonesia.

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,800+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,000+ scientific videos