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Confectioners target of automated salmonella technology

By Jane Byrne , 19-Jul-2010

Confectionery manufacturers are set to benefit from a pioneering automated sample preparation and PCR setup kit for Salmonella testing in chocolate and food products, said developers, Swiss robotics supplier Xiril and Germany’s Biotecon Diagnostics.

The suppliers said that the system, the foodproof RoboPrep+ Series, combines Xiril’s liquid handling instrumentation with Biotecon’s magnetic preparation technology to enable automation of sample preparation and PCR setup for greater efficiency and data security for high-throughput routine testing of food samples for the pathogen.

And the trigger for the collaboration, they said, was a request from a leading international confectionery producer for in-line automated Salmonella testing equipment, with the manufacturer in question having subsequently installed the application in several of its facilities.

Potsdam based Biotecon explained that its foodproof Magnetic Preparation Kit 1 was specifically designed to be used on the Xiril instruments to allow automated isolation and purification of DNA from all kinds of food matrices.

Speaking to ConfectioneryNews.com Biotecon product manger, Sina Kirsanovs, said that the technology has been sucessfully tested in-house on multiple chocolate and food matrices and that it can be easily customized to a manufacturer’s specific requirements.

And she said that the results are generated in about 4.5 hours following the complete process of sample preparation, set up and post PCR steps.

According to Kirsanovs, the technology is awaiting AOAC, OMA, and MicroVal approval.

Biotecon said the new system is currently being adapted to enable testing of additional food pathogens such as E. coli and Listeria.

The two companies maintain that the Salmonella testing system eliminates manual handling steps except in the initial loading of samples, reagents and consumables, while samples are traceable by barcode, and instruments are available with hood and UV/Air Cleaner.

In addition, claim the developers, the technology enables protocol to be started with only a few mouse clicks, and then runs unattended with up to 96 samples at a time, according to the developers.

They added that three different instrument sizes are available for all throughput needs, while sample preparation and PCR setup can be run consecutively or separately.

The team said that the full system is available through Biotecon including the complete robot package (on board PC, flat screen, keyboard and mouse), sample preparation and pathogen detection kits, plastic consumable sets (tips, plates, tubes, and buffer containers) and real-time PCR instruments.

Meanwhile, our sister site FoodProductionDaily.com last May reported how Swiss chocolate maker Nestlé had to shut down a production line after a positive Salmonella test on a batch of chocolate morsels at its one of its facilities in the US, following previous contamination of equipment at the same facility back in February.

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