A Method to Quickly Detect Low Levels of Fecal Contamination

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Researchers at Purdue University have developed a method to detect low levels of fecal contamination around animal operations. Fecal contamination of fresh produce is a public health concern due to the risk of foodborne illnesses. However, the current molecular methods such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) used for analyzing fecal contamination require several hours, cannot detect very low quantities of pathogens, and require expensive equipment or laboratory set-up. The Purdue researchers use a method known as Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP), which is a modified PCR that can be conducted at a single temperature using an inexpensive heat source. The assay takes less than an hour to complete, is highly sensitive, and is easily field-deployable. The combination of these factors allows prompt implementation of control measures if contamination is detected.

Related Publications: A loop-mediated isothermal amplification assay to detect Bacteroidales and assess risk of fecal contamination, Food Microbiology, Volume 110, 2023, 104173, ISSN 0740-0020, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fm.2022.104173.

Technology Validation: Fecal indicator bacteria (FIB), such as Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, and Bacteroidales, are commonly used to assess water or food quality. Using a colorimetric dye, the assay allows for naked-eye observation of reactions with as few as ~17 copies of Bacteroidales per cm^2 of surface area in the field.

- fast & inexpensive
- highly-sensitive
- field-based assay
- naked-eye detection

- fecal contamination assay of fresh produce
May 17, 2023
PCT-Gov. Funding

Jan 30, 2023
Provisional-Gov. Funding
United States

May 17, 2022
United States
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
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