Efficient cleaning in place (CIP) systems are essential to ensure high food safety standards in food production. In that connection, one of the top priorities for manufacturers is that the last rinse water is entirely free of pathogens, such as E. coli.
Real-time PCR-based tests are the current method of E. coli detection. The drawback is that it takes at least six hours to get the results.
AOTECH is developing an optical biosensor to carry out real-time monitoring of pathogenic bacteria in rinse water – with a similar sensitivity range as the PCR test and a processing time of less than two minutes.
For food manufacturers, rapid and reliable CIP validation is the way to improved efficiency in food safety and quality assurance and increased consumer confidence.
AOTECH is collaborating with the Applied Photonics Group from the University of the Basque Country for this project.
Final report summary
The results obtained are really promising and allow us to be optimistic about a future product that will make it possible to validate the cleaning of food facilities where bacteria such as E. Coli may be present.
The minimum detection limit of the best laboratory systems has been reached, detecting bacterial concentrations in the range of 10 to 100 CFU/ml with a much shorter analysis time than any other technique – although the 10 minutes it takes to obtain the measurement is indeed longer than the 2-3 minutes initially estimated.
The system has been demonstrated in a laboratory environment, but steps have been taken to bring its operation closer to real conditions. The good results obtained have led to the writing of a scientific article together with the University of the Basque Country and the Autonomous University of Madrid, which will be published in a prestigious international journal.