Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Queen’s University Researchers Pioneer Food Safety Testing

30.10.2006
With international demand amongst consumers and regulators for improved food safety never greater, a research project at Queen’s University Belfast, led by Professor Chris Elliott, and using the latest techniques in Nanotechnology, has resulted in the development of a new biosensor test kit capable of detecting an entire family of toxic drugs in foods.

The drug group, known as Nitroimidazoles, was once widely used in veterinary medicine to treat animal disease such as anaerobic bacterial and parasitic infections, but concerns over the safety of the drugs led to them being banned for use in animal production. However, due to their effectiveness in the treatment of certain diseases and the difficultly in detecting the misuse of the drugs, it has been alleged that widespread use of these drugs in some parts of the world still persists. The presence or absence of such drug residues in food commodities has major implications in respect to both food safety and international trade.

Funded by the Invest Northern Ireland ‘Proof of Concept’ programme, Professor Elliott, Head of the Food Safety Research Group at Queen’s, has now used the latest techniques in Nanotechnology to provide an innovative food-testing kit for such residues that is exceptionally rapid and reliable in comparison to the complex, costly and time-consuming monitoring systems currently available.

Many or even most of the food ingredients eaten every day contain nanoscale particles and naturally occurring nanoscale ingredients and the value of nanotechnology to the food industry has been estimated at £220 million in 2006. That figure is expected to grow to over £3 billion by 2012.

Having developed the reagents involved and optimised an analytical procedure using an optical biosensor to detect the presence of the drugs in foods, Professor Elliott and his team then sent a prototype test kit to regulatory laboratories around the world. The results of this multi-national validation exercise proved the kit could actually detect the compounds involved to the low parts per billion (ppb) levels required. This in turn, generated high levels of interest from the major regulatory bodies involved and several commercial entities, before Xenosense Ltd, a Northern Ireland based biosensor kit manufacturer agreed to commercialise the product.

Speaking about the revolutionary new kit and the commercialisation process, Professor Elliott said: “It is projects like this that illustrate the importance of the viable research being performed at Queen’s Institute of Agri-Food and Land Use, in addressing current food safety issues and in being able to transfer that knowledge through to the advantage of local industry.

“To have a company such as Xenosense Ltd, a Northern Ireland based biosensor kit manufacturer and one of our spin out companies from Queen’s through the QUBIS operation, agree to commercialise the method and offer the product to both the global market of regulatory laboratories and the Agri-Food Industry, is proof positive of the value of our work.

“The official launch of the new product is planned for later this year and we are delighted that with the help of Invest NI, we have taken a locally funded research programme and converted it into a commercially viable end product which will make a real difference to people’s lives.”

John Thompson, Director of Innovation, Research and Technology at Invest NI added: “Proof of Concept has proven itself to be a vital source of assistance for innovative research projects undertaken at both Queen’s University and the University of Ulster.

“By supporting the pre-commercialisation of leading-edge technologies emerging from Northern Ireland’s universities, Proof of Concept can support researchers as they bring inventions and ideas into the global marketplace – adding wealth to our economy and further reinforcing Northern Ireland as a world class research and development hub.”

Lisa Mitchell | alfa
Further information:
http://www.qub.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Improving memory with magnets
28.03.2017 | McGill University

nachricht Graphene-based neural probes probe brain activity in high resolution
28.03.2017 | Graphene Flagship

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Transport of molecular motors into cilia

28.03.2017 | Life Sciences

A novel hybrid UAV that may change the way people operate drones

28.03.2017 | Information Technology

NASA spacecraft investigate clues in radiation belts

28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>