The tool could detect whether a product is free of microorganisms like E. coli or salmonella.
Researchers at the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) in Mexico, developed a technology capable of identifying pathogens in food and beverages. This technique could work in the restaurant industry as a biosensor to detect in what conditions food is before being eaten in order to avoid possible gastrointestinal diseases.
Abdu Orduña Diaz, a researcher at IPN, carried out this work on the microfabrication of biosensors, devices with applications in biology. This system can be developed to identify pathogens in food or beverages, as well as analysis the presence of pesticides in the agricultural sector.
The biosensor is an analytical tool or system composed of a biological material that may be an enzyme, antibody, DNA, whole cell, organelle, or combinations thereof. Once it comes into direct contact with a transducer system (device) it converts the biochemical activity to be analyzed in a quantifiable signal (indication).
Within the classification of biosensors there are optical and electrochemical.
The specialist of the Center for Applied Research in Biotechnology (CIBA-Tlaxcala) of the IPN explains that in the development of this technology spectroscopic techniques are used such as infrared which is a versatile non-destructive, easy technique to use and is based on the interaction of radiation with matter. It is a controlled radiation that does not affect the person who handles it.
"When radiation interacts with matter it generates reactions. We analyze them and obtain information on the sample investigated. Such techniques can be applied in the development of optical biosensors," indicated the Polytechnic specialist.
One application would be focused on the detection of pathogens in food. This technology could work in the restaurant industry as a biosensor capable of detecting under what conditions is the food before eating in order to avoid possible gastrointestinal diseases.
"The tool could tell us whether the product is free of microorganisms, which may be the case of bacteria such as E. coli or salmonella."
The investigation is in an intermediate step of the analysis of materials transducers (devices) and in the near future could become a reality, once the ability to "build" thousands of BioMEMS -shaped as chips -- so they are commercially feasible and the consumer can purchase at low cost.
This technology could also be applied in the detection of toxins or pesticides, because it is a problem that the Mexican countryside has, the uncontrolled use of such substances.
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