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Purdue creates new low-cost system to detect bacteria

lity of being correct, which is as good as you could do with equipment costing more than $100,000, " Rajwa said. "And, unlike conventional systems, our method is 100 percent non-invasive, which means we can carry out the procedure without staining, manipulating or killing the biological samples.

"The power of this technology is that it does not require complicated lab equipment, and it could be designed so that it wouldn't require someone with a doctoral degree to operate. The whole beauty of the system is you don't invade the biological environment that you want to measure," Rajwa said. "If you are working with stem cells, you don't want to stain them to see if they are stem cells. You want to be able to look at colonies on a petri dish without touching the colonies, without staining or destroying the colonies."

The research has recently received funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through Purdue's Center for Food Safety Engineering.

Further work will include research to develop a graphical user interface.

"Now it requires a qualified, trained person to do all the recognition," Rajwa said. "We want a system where you can actually put a petri dish or some other container into the system, you press enter and the computer says, 'This is salmonella of this type and this strain, ' and it does this quickly in real time. There is absolutely no fundamental reason why we wouldn't be able to do this, and we are pretty close to having an actual prototype of a product that could be commercialized."

A provisional patent has been filed for the data-processing technique, and a full patent application has been filed on the underlying light-scattering technology.


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Contact: Emil Venere
venere@purdue.edu
765-494-4709
Purdue University
27-Jul-2006


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