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DNA Chip Detects Pathogens In Seafood

Food safety & handling +1 more

SPAIN - A team of researchers at the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) are working on the development of rapid molecular methods that allow rapid detection and identification of pathogenic micro-organisms in seafood.

Working with experts from the Institute of Marine Research in Vigo, the University Complutense of Madrid and the National Research Council in Milan, the team are investigating seafood from both fisheries and aquaculture.

Professor Jorge Barros Velázquez, project co-ordinator said that the techniques they are developing could also be applied in other sectors likes dairy foods or meat.

A team from the University of Santiago have prepared a database of bacteria that serve as a reference for the early detection of these foods. This is a "large collection" of food-borne microorganisms that are pathogenic or that modify the quality of food from the sea.

Professor Barros Velázquez explained: "There are regions of the genome of these microorganisms that are specific, which allow us to distinguish species or strains of the same species."

Gene-specific devices can detect each specific micro-organisms and hundreds of pathogens in the same short test, which Professor Barros Velázquez believes is vital for the industry.

Professor Barros Velázquez said: "It is a miniture device that allows us to identify the existence of any problematic microorganism present in the products of fisheries and aquaculture."

The method is described as "very robust, fast and powerful". Since the team have already designed gene probes, the next step is the fabrication of the device, they are focusing on size.