Food Safety Magazine

Biz Tracks | December 17, 2013

Rapid Pathogen Identification System Evaluated for Food Industry Testing

By Staff

Rapid Pathogen Identification System Evaluated for Food Industry Testing

PathoGenetix, Inc., developer of an automated system for bacterial strain typing, and Marshfield Food Safety, LLC, a full-service microbiology and chemistry contract testing laboratory, announced Dec. 17 that Marshfield will evaluate PathoGenetix’s RESOLUTION™ Microbial Genotyping System. Per the agreement, Marshfield will conduct independent testing of the RESOLUTION instrument, assays and database in its corporate laboratory, and provide feedback on the system's speed, utility and ease-of-use for food industry applications.

The RESOLUTION system provides confirmation for presumptive positive screening tests and rapidly identifies molecular serotype and strain type information of foodborne pathogens. Based on PathoGenetix’s Genome Sequence Scanning™ (GSS) technology, the system isolates and analyzes microbial DNA directly from enriched food samples, without a cultured isolate, to type target bacteria in just five hours — even when multiple serovars are present, according to the company.

The strain type information provided by GSS is comparable to pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), the current gold standard for pathogen identification. Unlike PFGE, however, GSS is culture-independent, and fully automated from sample preparation to final report. Thus, PathoGenetix officials explain, the RESOLUTION system has the potential to greatly reduce the time, complexity and skill level required to identify foodborne pathogens in both food industry testing and public health outbreak investigations.

Marshfield Food Safety participated in PathoGenetix’s RESOLUTION Customer Experience Program in November to get an in-depth, hands-on review of the GSS technology. “We are very excited to evaluate the RESOLUTION System further, and believe that it has the potential to be a very powerful new tool for our customers,” said Marshfield CEO Roy Radcliff. “We believe the system can simplify pathogen confirmation and reduce the time required to identify microbial contamination and trace it back to the original source in the production facility.”

Marshfield provides full service microbiology and chemistry testing and food safety risk management services to clients along the food chain from farm to table. In addition to conducting laboratory services for national food producers in its Wisconsin-based corporate laboratory, Marshfield also designs and staffs onsite quality and safety testing laboratories for food producers throughout the U.S.

“We are extremely excited to begin placing systems for external evaluations,” said John Czajka, PathoGenetix’s vice president of business development. “These evaluations will demonstrate the simplicity and utility of the RESOLUTION system, while providing key end-user feedback on how the workflow and user interface might be improved as the system moves into full commercial production.”

As a part of the collaboration, Marshfield will provide feedback to PathoGenetix that will assist in commercializing the RESOLUTION instrument, database and assays. PathoGenetix also has signed a collaborative agreement with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to evaluate the system for use in public health foodborne illness outbreak investigation and response.