Rapid in-field detection of pathogens

Thursday, 08 November, 2007

A combination of biotechnologies has been used to design sensors that can detect the presence of pathogenic organisms or chemical contamination in water, food, industrial or point-of-care situations in less than six hours.

An Australian government COMET grant has been awarded for the development of an automated system for the rapid in-field detection of pathogens and will boost Rapid Detection Pty Ltd, the company commercialising microbial diagnostics and detection systems arising from research conducted by the Environmental Biotechnology CRC.

“These ‘next generation’ technologies will provide significant efficiency improvements to many industries. They will be cost effective and we are expecting to turn around results presently achieved in 24 to 48 hours in less than six hours, and in certain high contamination situations within even shorter timeframes,” said Dr Brenton Hamdorf, CEO of Rapid Detection.

“Many different industries, including the environmental, water, food quality and safety sectors as well as pharmaceutical and biomedical industries will benefit from the speedy results provided by this technology.”

The system will provide results directly to portable devices via simple electronic readouts, laptops and PDAs. The system will be based on the company’s technology, which integrates sample preparation and analysis and will be applicable for the detection of a broad range of organisms eg, common water-borne contaminants such as faecal coliforms, E.coli, legionella, cryptosporidim and giardia .

“By providing a robust, high specificity result in the field or at the point of care, the system will enhance the early detection and management of disease outbreaks,” Hamdorf said.

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