Scientists have come up with a new way of detecting bacterial contamination with E.coli in food or water. The new finding allows researchers to test food and water for E.Coli with results ready in minutes.
The study was published in the journal Optics Letters. Researchers from the University of Quebec and the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur crafted a sensor which can tell which bacterial pathogen is responsible for infecting water or food sources.
Study co-author Saurabh Mani Tripathi noted that with current technology, it takes several hours to a couple of days to find the bacteria. So there is room for a quicker alternative.
The new technology uses a class of viruses called bacteriophages. They link to specific forms of bacteria and kill them. Researchers put these microorganisms on optical fibers in a sensor.
If the bacteria-eating virus finds bacteria in the sample, the light shows that the substance under examination is contaminated.
By changing the type of bacteria eating virus (or bacteriophage), scientists can use this sensor to find a variety of strains of bacteria.
Tripathi and his team have a partnership with a Canadian company to put the device in mass production. They hope the portable version of this useful science tool will cost just a few thousand dollars.
The extra time which becomes available can be used to treat the patient faster. E.coli is found in contaminated water or food.
The device has big implications for the food industry and pathology labs. It will shorten the time of determination and give patients with severe forms of the bacteria an extra chance at life.
Contamination with bacteria is a big health issue. In 2015, some guests at Chipotle restaurants got sick after consuming E.coli contaminated food.
Sometimes, products are taken out of supermarkets and stores, upon suspicions of listeria or salmonella contaminations. These bacteria can also be detected by the scientific gadget mentioned above.
Even though the producing price does not seem high, developing countries would not be able to afford it at first.
What’s your opinion on this issue? Have you heard about cases of contamination with bacteria? Please tell us what you think by leaving a comment below.
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