Ural Federal University: Scientists to Develop Express Systems for Determining Food Safety

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The Ural scientists won the competition of joint research projects within the framework of BRICS. Together with Chinese and Indian colleagues, they will develop new biosensor nanomaterials to detect specific pathogenic bacteria in food products. The sensors can be used for fast and efficient determination of food safety in the food industry as well as in medical and clinical diagnostics. The efficiency of the obtained test systems will be tested by scientists from three countries on samples of foodborne pathogens typical of Russia, India, and China.

“Foodborne diseases are associated with contamination by various food pathogens and occur at any stage of the food production, delivery or consumption chain. We have identified four types of pathogens specific to the three countries. Together, we will develop a technique for jointly selective recognition of intestinal bacterial ribosomal RNA molecules and a way to quantify them using electrochemical methods and electron paramagnetic resonance spin label and probe spectroscopy. This will solve two main problems related to low efficiency of identification of food pathogens and the time-consuming determination of their content. The sensors developed by us can be used by public catering enterprises, food production facilities, epidemiology and hygiene centers, as well as medical institutions,” says Elena Kovaleva, Project Manager, Professor at the Department of Technology of Organic Synthesis, Head of the Laboratory of Biotransformation Technologies and Food Chemistry at the Institute of Chemical Engineering.

The project will be completed by the end of 2024. Then the scientists will commercialize the results of their research: both the test systems (biosensors) themselves and the methods developed for selective recognition and quantitative determination of pathogenic bacteria. The Ural Federal University already has an industrial partner which is interested in the results of the project. It is engaged in improving the quality of milk used for the production of dairy products, including cheese.

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