Funding awarded to detect E. coli in food processing facilities

by • July 19, 2013 • Agbiotech/industrial, Agri-Food, Science FocusComments Off on Funding awarded to detect E. coli in food processing facilities1079

Genome Alberta is pleased to announce on behalf of our funding partners the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency, Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions, Genome Canada, Genome Québec, and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Rural Affairs, the results of our collective funding competition for the rapid detection of pathogenic E. coli.  Each of the two successful applications will receive $500,000 in new funding. The successful projects will leverage this investment with additional funding to bring the total investment to $1.6 million over the 18 month life of the projects.

The first project receiving funding is titled “Rapid Sampling and Detection of STEC in Meat” and is led by researchers Linda M. Pilarski and Lynn McMullen from the University of Alberta. The second project receiving funding is titled “Point-of-Need Gene-Based System for Detection of Priority STEC in Beef” and is led by researchers Michel G. Bergeron of Université Laval and of Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec (affiliated with Université Laval) and Burton W. Blais with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

The competition was launched by the funders in November of 2012 with the main objective of developing an innovative genomics based test for the presence of generic and pathogenic E. coli bacteria during food production. The funders expect that the research effort will result in new genomic-based detection methods that can be used in industry settings, and that is more sensitive, faster, and cheaper than currently available technologies.

The desired criteria for the new detection methods were developed with input from industry on the practical and business aspects, and from government to ensure the methodology being developed will meet regulatory requirements. All applications were evaluated by an independent peer review panel comprised of industry and science experts.

Each of the successful projects will leverage this investment from the funders with additional funding to bring the total investment to $1.6 million over the 18 month life of the projects.

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