Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Faster Detection Of Bacteria In Water, Food; Could Be Used To Detect Terrorist Contamination

Date:
May 7, 2002
Source:
American Society For Technion - Israel Institute Of Technology
Summary:
Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed a new method that establishes genetic markers for bacteria in water, food, and biological and medical samples. The patented system uses the genetic material in bacteria such as E. coli to quickly and accurately identify and "fingerprint" the bacteria. The speed of the detection process also makes it useful in detection of contaminants from potential terrorist actions.

HAIFA, Israel and NEW YORK, N.Y., May 6, 2002 – Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed a new method that establishes genetic markers for bacteria in water, food, and biological and medical samples. The patented system uses the genetic material in bacteria such as E. coli to quickly and accurately identify and "fingerprint" the bacteria. The speed of the detection process also makes it useful in detection of contaminants from potential terrorist actions.

Current tests can take days to produce results and are often limited in their ability to distinguish between various bacterial strains. But the new technology produces test results in just one to three hours, and can be operated and interpreted without highly trained personnel. A report on the technique -- developed by Dr. Yechezkel Kashi of the Faculty of Food Engineering and Biotechnology and the Grand Water Research Institute at the Technion, together with Dr. Eric Hallerman of the College of Natural Resources at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Dr. Leora Shelef of the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at Wayne State University -- was published in Genome Research (January 2000).

"The precise identification of bacterial strains can be crucial in determining effective therapeutic strategies, and time is of the essence when it comes to certain diagnoses," Dr. Kashi said. "For example, it can take days for doctors to determine that a patient has a urinary tract infection that can permanently damage the kidneys. Now patients can start taking the proper medications within hours of the test."

Dr. Hallerman added that "the research will improve the sensitivity, speed of detection and identification of bacteria such as E. coli. Because the test is rapid, sensitive and specific, it may be important as a microbial test of food and of water supplies to protect against terrorist attack.

In developing this detection system, the researchers found that bacterial DNA sequences contain thousands of non-coding sequence repeats, or SSRs (Simple Sequence Repeats) the so-called "junk" information contained in DNA. They found that the SSR marker sites differ in each bacterial strain, providing a unique "fingerprint" to distinguish between and identify the strains. By using existing technologies that analyze DNA sequences, Dr. Kashi’s team can "fingerprint" bacteria, just as forensic experts identify suspects from fingerprints found at a crime scene.

"Potentially, we can assign each bacterium an identity card," Kashi said. "Only instead of nine digits per identity number, imagine thousands." The technology will allow accurate, systematic comparison of bacteria across the world. Since the database will be computerized and updated, the identity card will enable the user to access all the information about the specific strain.

In addition to water, food and medical uses, Dr. Kashi’s method promises to give biologists a better understanding of microorganisms. By tracking differences that accumulated slowly in bacterial genomes over time, the study of the patterns of variation among strains can lead to greater insight into bacterial evolution.

"The new ‘identity card’ approach will enable us to further distinguish between bacterial strains that have different virulence and clinical symptoms, for example, which strain of bacteria is likely to harm the kidney, or which strain of Streptococcus is likely to harm the heart," Dr. Kashi explained.

The next step in developing the system is to create devices that will automate the microbial DNA readings to give rapid test results at large-scale center labs or at the doctor’s office, according to Dr. Kashi.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Society For Technion - Israel Institute Of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Society For Technion - Israel Institute Of Technology. "Faster Detection Of Bacteria In Water, Food; Could Be Used To Detect Terrorist Contamination." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 May 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020507073758.htm>.
American Society For Technion - Israel Institute Of Technology. (2002, May 7). Faster Detection Of Bacteria In Water, Food; Could Be Used To Detect Terrorist Contamination. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020507073758.htm
American Society For Technion - Israel Institute Of Technology. "Faster Detection Of Bacteria In Water, Food; Could Be Used To Detect Terrorist Contamination." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/05/020507073758.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

California University Designs Sustainable Winery

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) Amid California's worst drought in decades, scientists at UC Davis design a sustainable winery that includes a water recycling system. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

Argentina Worries Over Decline of Soybean Prices

AFP (Sep. 27, 2014) The drop in price of soy on the international market is a cause for concern in Argentina, as soybean exports are a major source of income for Latin America's third largest economy. Duration: 01:10 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Mama Bear, Cubs Hang out in California Backyard

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 27, 2014) A mama bear and her two cubs climb trees, wrestle and take naps in the backyard of a Monrovia, California home. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

'Crazy' Climate Forces Colombian Farmers to Adapt

AFP (Sep. 26, 2014) Once upon a time, farming was a blissfully low-tech business on Colombia's northern plains. Duration: 02:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins