Singapore lab launches portable test kit for foodborne pathogens

By Ankush Chibber

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Bacteria

Singapore-based Veredus Laboratories has launched a portable test kit that can detect bacteria and viruses that cause the most common foodborne illnesses in collaboration with Geneva-based chipmaker ST Microelectronics.

According to Rosemary Tan, CEO of Veredus Laboratories, the test kit will be able to detect 10-12 different pathogens including the E. coli strain that caused a European outbreak in the past month.

“However, we are able to customise with our end users to increase or decrease that capability to adjust to their requirement,”​ said Tan.

Among the other pathogens that the test can detect are Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (including E. coli 0157 and E. coli 0104), Salmonella, Listeria and Campylobacter.

Tan explained that the product, called VereFoodborne, consists of a silicon chip integrating a miniaturised reactor for reverse transcription of RNA, PCR-based DNA amplification and a customised microarray for the detection of selected biological agents.

“These technologies enable the development of VereFoodborne chip into a fast PCR-microarray based diagnostic test using the Lap-On-Chip platform to simultaneously detect, differentiate and identify selected foodborne pathogens,” ​said Tan.

According to Tan, to administer the test, an inspector would require isolated genetic material (DNA) from food products. The test results can be achieved with two hours starting from putting the genetic material into the chip.

“It can be used both in manufacturing and post production depending on the need; as long as there is a requirement/need to test for such micro-organisms, we can do that,” ​added Tan.

Tan said that many government bodies in Asia concerned with food safety are already using its product as part of a large scale pilot, and that the company expects interest from food manufacturers, testers, retailers, clinical labs and reference labs.

“Implementation of VereFoodborne on a nationwide scale will establish a surveillance network capable of early event detection at the local, state, and national levels,”​ she added.

Related topics: Markets, Food safety, South East Asia

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