Food Engineering

New Sensor Detects Pathogens in Meats

March 28, 2003
Scientists at Georgia Tech have developed a sensor that detects E. coli, salmonella and other potentially harmful organisms. The device, called the "biosensor," is fast, more accurate and less expensive than current methods used to spot pathogens in meat, seafood, poultry, dairy products, and produce. For now, researchers are concentrating on six bacterial species: salmonella, E. Coli 0157:H7, generic E. coli, listeria, campylobacter and yersinia. Typical laboratory methods for the dectection of these organisms takes up to 72 hours. The biosensor takes only two hours and can be used on the plant floor.

Field tests were scheduled to start in November, for a three-to-six month period at the Gold Kist plant, Carrollton, GA. Initial tests will be on poultry, but the study may be expanded to include red meat, seafoods and dairy products, including soft cheeses such as Brie. No word yet on when the device will hit the commercial market.

For more information, contact the biosensors' developers: Nile Hartman at nile.hartman@gatech.edu; Dr. Paul Edmonds at paul.edmonds@biology.gatech.edu; or Dr. Robert Brackett at rbracke@cfsqe.peachnet.edu