New technology for bacteria detection, UQ research

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 23rd January 2013

Chicken meat and other foods will be able to be screened for bacteria even faster and more effectively than ever, thanks to breakthrough nanobiotechnology research from The University of Queensland.

The study featured on the front cover of the international journal Analytical Biochemistry this month being run by a team of scientists from The University of Queensland and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. The new technology enables DNA amplification on “microspheres” to detect and identify large numbers of bacteria at once.

The scientists have estimated that there are around 5.4 million cases of food-borne gastroenteritis in Australia every year. Of these cases, it is estimated that around 200,000 are associated with the bacteria Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli.

Professor Ross Barnard from The University of Queensland said that previous testing methods were “slow” and “less effective.”

“After five years, we are now able to extend and develop the platform in ways that haven’t been done before,” Professor Barnard said.

“This is just the beginning. Because this testing is based on a platform technology it can be applied in many different ways, such as mutation screening in plant, animal and human genomes, as well as for applications in the realm of infectious diseases,” he added.

The discovery was the result of five years of intensive research and the full scale of the benefits is yet to be known.

In late 2012, Australian Food News reported other work being done at Swinburne University in relation to the early detection of gastro food-borne illness.