ST. PAUL, Minn. – 3M Food Safety has launched its 3M Molecular Detection System, which it describes as a fast, accurate and easy-to-use method of detecting dangerous pathogens, such as Salmonella, E. coli O157 and Listeria. Available worldwide, the new system is based on a combination of technologies involving isothermal DNA amplification and bioluminescence detection.

The system was designed to be compact, simple and robust featuring easy implementation and low maintenance without compromising accuracy and reliability, the company said.

"We believe we've found a transformational solution that makes for a faster and simpler way of accurately detecting pathogens," said Francine Savage, vice president and general manager, 3M Food Safety. "The 3M Molecular Detection System optimizes technicians' time and productivity, improving bottom lines, protecting brands and ensuring public health."

Here’s how the new system works. It targets and amplifies nucleic acid in enriched samples. The automated technology has been evaluated with an assortment of food types, including produce, meats, processed foods, pet food and food-processing related environmental samples. The instrument takes up less counter space than a laptop computer, making it portable and adaptable to various lab environments.

"Pathogen testing has now been made simple and affordable," said Niki Montgomery, 3M Food Safety global marketing development manager. "Food processors will benefit greatly from the system's affordable accuracy and fast time to results, minimizing downtime in the lab. Numerous organisms can be tested in a single run and it was designed to help our customers perform fewer repeat tests and make critical decisions faster."

Individual, pathogen-specific assays, or procedural tests, will be sold as test kits as part of the 3M Molecular Detection System platform. Each assay test kit uses the same software interface and DNA extraction protocol for testing between one and 96 samples per run. Assays for Salmonella, E. coli O157 (including H7) and Listeria are available immediately; a test for Listeria monocytogenes is planned for release in early 2012. 3M will continue to invest in developing a full portfolio of pathogen testing solutions to address customer needs.

The company relays that independent laboratory studies with the 3M Molecular Detection System are currently being worked on to pursue global method recognitions.

"In our evaluation of the Listeria species assay, we liked the small footprint of the system as well as the quick delivery of results after sample enrichment," said Dr. Martin Wiedmann, a professor in Cornell University's Department of Food Science who studied the system's analyses of samples taken from meat-packing, seafood processing and retail locations. "This system definitely illustrates the potential of isothermal methods for rapid detection of foodborne pathogens."

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