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Volume 38, No. 2

The Fridge Laser That Detects Bacteria Crawling All Over Food

Spotting the bacteria that causes food poisoning has always been a time consuming and expensive business. Until now.

Food poisoning is a potentially lethal condition and therefore a serious problem for the food industry. Each year, some 50 million people suffer food poisoning in the U.S. alone, including more than a million cases of potentially lethal salmonella poisoning.

So finding ways to prevent the spread of this and other kinds of bacteria is an important goal. But it is hard to detect bacteria in food products. The most common detection methods involve techniques such as microbiological culturing, polymerase chain reactions, high-performance liquid chromatography, and mass spectrometry, to name just a few.

These methods are complex, expensive, and time-consuming. And they require highly trained technicians to perform them. Consequently, few food companies and outlets have access to this kind of technology, and consumers have to take the hygiene of most foods they buy on trust.

Now that looks set to change thanks to the work of Jonghee Yoon and pals at the Korea Advanced Institutes of Science and Technology in South Korea. These guys have found a quick and cheap way to spot bacteria on the surface of foods in just a few seconds. They say their technique could be easily used in food processing lines and even fitted to standard home fridges. Read the ful article.


Originally published March 29, 2016 by MIT Technology Review. 

Image by NIH Image Gallery. See licesning agreement.

For informational purposes only - not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, nor an endorsement by the American Nutrition Association®. Use permitted for non-profit and non-commercial uses or by healthcare professionals in their practice, with attribution to www.AmericanNutritionAssociation.org. Other use only with written ANA℠ permission. Views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the ANA℠. Works by a listed author subject to copyrights as marked. © 2010 ANA℠