Researchers at Auburn University are in the forefront of protecting public health and safety by developing a device for the early detection of salmonella.
Up until now, identifying the disease was a slow and labor intensive process.
This new discovery allows detection of this bacterium in real time allowing farmers, grocers and even cooks to determine if food is contaminated.
"The sensor is small and we just put it on the food surface to do the scanning food contamination detection. So we can do this whole detection in just ten minutes and also we don't need high tech people to use it," explains AU Ph. D candidate, Yating Chai.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 48 million people become sick due to food borne pathogens each year, including salmonella.
This technology can have a huge positive impact on these numbers in the future.
"We want to do this test at each step so we can do it in the production process, the transportation process and also the preparation process, so this is very important and everyone can have it, everyone can do it at anytime," says Chai.
This new technology has been patented and is about to be tested in the field. Auburn anticipates these sensors could be marketed to companies within the next several years.
With its speed and easy to use format, this new detection device could eventually be of great benefit worldwide, especially in underdeveloped countries where food borne illnesses cause countless fatalities every year.
"We want to (develop) something you can use any place and work well," explains Chai, "And at a low cost is very important for some developing countries."