Purdue Research Park-Based Company Detects and Traps Bacteria That Cause Foodborne Illness

Article excerpt

A Purdue Research Park-Based Company has developed a method to capture and detect foodborne illness-causing bacteria such as E. coli that promises to be quicker and less expensive than current coventional technology on the market.

The company's technology is based on discoveries by a research group led by Associate Professor Bruce M. Applegate in Purdue University's Department of Food Sciences.

Intelliphage, founded in 2008 by Applegate and Lynda Perry, a research associate in his group, has modified a virus that can infect a specific E.coli bacterium. This strain causes illness in people and is associated with eating contaminated beef of vegetables and drinking unpasteurized milk or contaminated water.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 70,000 infections may be related to this E coli in the U.S. each year The number is an estimate, however, because many infected people do not seek medical care.

Applegate's virus will identify the bacterium's presence in food by turning it red or making it luminescent, allowing food companies to detect potentially contaminated food before it reaches the consumer. …