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Toshiba claims pathogen detection in less than 2 hours

By Joe Whitworth+

31-Mar-2015

Picture: Toshiba and Kawasaki City develop DNA chip technology
Picture: Toshiba and Kawasaki City develop DNA chip technology

Toshiba and Kawasaki City have developed DNA chip technology that they claim can simultaneously test 14 foodborne pathogens in less than 90 minutes.

Genelyzer II can detect Salmonella, Campylobacter, Shigella, Bacillus cereus, Listeria, Enterohemorrhagic E.coli and Clostridium perfringens among others.

Overcoming complex methods

Toshiba and Kawasaki City Institute for Public Health said the ‘DNA chip card’ employs electrochemical DNA chips and overcomes complicated procedures with genetic testing of conventional methods.

Such tests would usually take four to five days based on pathogen cultivation, they added.

Four slots allow parallel testing and results are displayed on a screen in less than two hours.

The ‘DNA chip card’ is expected to find applications in areas including hygiene management for food manufacturers.

Toshiba and Kawasaki City said it is easy to use as it only requires the operator to inject nucleic acid, in contrast to conventional DNA protocols that require high levels of skill and expertise.

Detection sensitivity depends on the target pathogen and has a range of 1E+01~05 cfu/mL.

Further system development

More than 1,000 people a month fall ill from food poisoning in Japan, said Toshiba.

“The problem is it takes up to five days to identify the guilty microorganism. Health organisations want to shorten that.

“Nucleic acid from a stool sample is smeared on a slide that is registered with a barcode scan. Then it is tested for 22 genes associated with pathogens.

“This automated process is faster and reduces human error.”  

Toshiba said it is continuing development work to expand detection to noroviruses and identification of food sources.

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