Tougher regulatory standards and the increased reporting of food contamination in restaurants, supermarkets and processing plants has pushed companies to put a higher priority on safety, shelf life and cleanliness. The trend has fueled the demand for more stringent testing and tracing of food products along the supply chain to the consumer.
Qualicon's new BAX Q7 machine is more flexible than previous versions of the testing system by combining safety and quality testing features and by speeding up the process, the company claims.
"Innovations in the new instrument will enable us to develop BAX Q7 assays that provide new and meaningful information on food samples, such as presence and amount of multiple microbes in a single sample," stated Peter Mrozinski, DuPont Qualicon's business development manager. "This, in turn, will help food companies make informed business decisions at an earlier point in the process."
The BAX Q7 instrument can use both real-time and end-point detection methods. It has the ability to detect up to five different dyes used for probe-based detection, as well as intercalating dyes.
This allows testers to use the best chemistry to match the needs of the assay. It completes 40 cycles of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing in less than two hours, leading to faster results. For the first time, food companies can use the same automated platform for both safety and quality testing.
PCR has become one of the top laboratory methods for microbacterial detection in the food industry as it can detect small samples of contamination by amplifying the amount of DNA, the genetic code through which technologists can determine what is present in a product.
The new system is the result of an alliance formed earlier last year between DuPont and Applied Biosystems, a unit of Applera Corporation.
DuPont Qualicon said it would develop additional technologies to shorten the entire testing process.
"The goal is a completely integrated system of food testing modules - from sampling and enrichment to accurate detection and actionable results," the company stated. "Simply stated, our vision is to revolutionize the way food testing is done. Introducing the BAX Q7 is an important first step in meeting this goal."