Researchers create contamination test for dairy products, using technology that can be printed inside containers

Tohid Didar, researcher at McMaster University. Credit: McMaster University

Researchers have developed a test to reveal bacterial contamination in dairy products long before they have a chance to reach anyone’s lips.

Researchers at McMaster University, with support from Toyota Tsusho Canada, Inc., have proven a method that will allow producers, packers and retailers to detect bacterial contamination in dairy products simply by reading the signal from a test printed inside each container.

The technology can be adapted to detect the most common food pathogens and is also expected to be effective for use with other foods and beverages.

Once it becomes widely available, the McMaster and Toyota Tsusho hope it will make the food supply safer and significantly reduce food waste.

The research was published today in the journal of Nanotechnology ACS Nano.

The test in its current form works by isolating even trace amounts of infectious bacteria in dairy products, a technical challenge that until now was difficult to manage.

“Milk is a very rich environment whose complex biology can mask the presence of pathogens, which makes their research difficult,” explains Tohid Didar, Canada Research Chair at the McMaster School of Biomedical Engineering and author of the article. “In terms of technical challenge, it’s similar to blood.”

The test works by printing a tasteless, food-safe patch onto the inside surface of a container that repels all but target organisms, using a biosensor that triggers a change in the patch when such organisms are removed. detected.

Researchers are working with Toyota Tsusho Canada, Inc., an indirect subsidiary of Toyota Tsusho Corporation in Japan, to develop and market a working prototype.

“We chose milk as a demonstration of the technology because it is so difficult. Knowing that the technology works in such a complex solution means that it can work with other forms of packaged food products, such as soup. canned or tuna, ”says co-author Carlos. Filipe, McMaster Chair in Chemical Engineering.

Reducing disease and food waste aligns well with Toyota Tsusho Canada’s values, said Grant Town, vice president of Toyota Tsusho Canada Inc.

“Whenever we work to generate new business, it has to be of benefit to the company,” Town said. “Reducing food waste will benefit everyone, and Toyota Tsusho Canada sees a great opportunity in this. “

The research is part of an ongoing and larger effort to make McMaster a center for the development of real-time sensors, anti-pathogenic materials and other products that improve food safety.

The authors of the new research have inoculated whole milk with E. coli to prove that the technology can detect even traces of the bacteria.

Proven to be effective, the researchers say, the detection technology can easily be applied to other foodborne pathogens, such as listeria and clostridium. Yingfu Li, professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences and co-author of the article, had previously identified various biosensors capable of detecting specific pathogens.

A test patch covering multiple pathogens could be printed or incorporated into many forms of packaging, including cartons, plastic jars, milk bags, and bottles so that it could be read, visually or with a scanner, without opening the packaging.

The short-term goal is to make the technology available to manufacturers, distributors and retailers, but if widely adopted, consumers could one day use portable scanners to check foods just before consuming them.

Researchers develop transparent patch to detect dangerous food threats

More information:
Hanie Yousefi et al, LISzyme Biosensors: DNAzymes Embedded in an Anti-biofouling Platform for Handsfree Real Time Detection of Bacterial Contamination in Milk, ACS Nano (2021). DOI: 10.1021 / acsnano.1c05766

Provided by McMaster University

Quote: Researchers Create Contamination Test for Dairy Products, Using Technology That Can Be Printed Inside Containers (2021, December 7) Retrieved January 14, 2022 from 12-contamination-dairy-products-technology. html

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