U.S – Poultry producers may soon have a powerful ally in the fight against Salmonella contamination, thanks to a technology utilizing magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs) and gold nanoparticles (GNPs).

This innovation, presented at the 2023 Poultry Tech Summit, promises to streamline and expedite the detection process, potentially transforming food safety practices in the poultry supply chain.

Tina Conklin, Vice President of Technical Services at Michigan Turkey Producers Cooperative, highlighted the persistent challenge of Salmonella detection in poultry production and processing.

The existing methods, including culturing, PCR amplification, and rapid antibody tests, face limitations due to the time-consuming sample enrichment process, leading to delays in obtaining results.

The newly introduced technology integrates MNPs and GNPs, strategically deployed throughout the poultry supply chain.

MNPs play a pivotal role by concentrating bacterial cells from large-volume samples using a magnet. Simultaneously, GNPs are engineered to react selectively to Salmonella-specific DNA.

Conklin elucidated the process, stating that the MNPs form a complex with the bacteria, allowing particles to be gathered and resuspended into a smaller volume. This results in a higher cell concentration and a considerably faster sample enrichment process.

The GNPs are combined with oligoprobes and DNA from the sample. Following a heat treatment, an acid is introduced to induce a color change reaction. In the absence of Salmonella DNA, the solution turns purple within approximately 10 minutes. However, if Salmonella is present, the solution retains its original color.

For a more quantitative approach, Conklin suggested the use of spectrometric measurement, with a smartphone application developed as an alternative for scenarios where a spectrometer is not readily available.

Conklin emphasized the technology’s speed, cost-effectiveness, and minimal equipment requirements compared to current Salmonella detection methods.

Beyond poultry, she envisions the potential application of this technology in detecting contaminants in other meats, fruits, and vegetables.

Plans are underway to test the selectivity of the technology on other poultry-associated microorganisms, extending its potential impact across the broader spectrum of food safety.

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