New method simultaneously detects toxins in food

By Ahmed ElAmin

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bacteria

A new method for the rapid simultaneous detection of staphylococcal
and botulinum toxins in food could help processors improve the
speed at which they remove potentially harmful products beforethey
leave the plant.

A new method for the rapid simultaneous detection of staphylococcal and botulinum toxins in food could help processors improve the speed at which they remove potentially harmful products beforethey leave the plant. Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) and botulinum toxin A (BotA) are common causes of food poisoning in humans. Consumer concerns about food safety and a number of costly recalls have led to tougher regulatory action and increased survelliance at processing plants. Researchers from the George Mason University say they successfully used the Naval Research Laboratory array biosensor to detect for the presence of SEB and BotA and found it capable of rapidly andsimultaneously identifying both toxins in complex food products. "The ability to carry out multianalyte detection in complex samples is a clear advantage for screening food, water, or air samples for hazards either naturally occurring ordeliberately introduced," the researchers stated. In the study canned tomatoes, sweet corn, green beans, mushrooms and tuna were spiked with both toxins and left at room temperature for two hours. "The assays are simple to perform, show no cross-reactivity, are rapid, and require little to no sample pretreatment or preconcentration," they state in their research. Their findings appear in the September 2005 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The Naval Research Laboratory developed its array biosensor for the rapid simultaneous analysis of multiple analytes in multiple samples. The biosensor's advantage is it can detect proteins,toxins, bacteria and viruses in under 10 minutes. The portable biosensor is designed for use in the field. Through its technology transfer office the laboratory has made the biosensor available to companies in the US, Australia, the UK and German. External links to companies or organisations mentioned in this story: American Society for Microbiology Naval Research Laboratory

Related topics: Food Safety & Quality

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