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CANARY swoops in to help food safety

By staff reporter , 24-May-2016
Last updated on 24-May-2016 at 08:56 GMT2016-05-24T08:56:57Z

PathSensors claims the’ CANARY tech detects pathogens in minutes. Picture: PathSensors
PathSensors claims the’ CANARY tech detects pathogens in minutes. Picture: PathSensors

The recent spate of Listeria recalls highlights the need for faster bio threat detection to ensure food safety, according to the CEO of PathSensors.

The biotech firm’s technology uses a biosensor technology called CANARY (Cellular Analysis and Notification of Antigen Risks and Yields) developed by MIT a decade ago.

It has been used for homeland security and defense applications and the company is now working with firms to implement CANARY for food safety inspection.

Ted Olsen, CEO, said there is a need to upgrade existing pathogen detection processes, and technologies such as CANARY detect contamination earlier and with greater sensitivity.

“Legacy approaches can take days to detect and identify threats, which results in higher downstream costs and greater health risks. CANARY is easy to use, so food safety workers do not need extensive technical training.”

Developed by scientists at MIT-Lincoln Laboratories, it has pathogen-specific antibodies on the biosensor surface which, in the presence of a pathogen (virus, bacteria or toxin), trigger a calcium release that activates bioluminescent proteins within the biosensor cell. These proteins generate light, which can be measured and analysed.

PathSensors’ BioFlash and Zephyr detection systems use CANARY technology licensed from the MIT-Lincoln Laboratory.

The firm relocated and expanded to 4,000 square feet of laboratory, office, and manufacturing space earlier this year.

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