Consumer food safety is about to take a major step forward.

Alberta Innovates has led the way in the development of a rapid-testing device to detect food pathogens. The device, now ready for commercialization, and is the fastest, most sensitive instrument available, report University of Alberta researchers.

The team's results in a recent study set a new standard for detecting several food-borne pathogens. The user-friendly, handheld device called the GelCycler Mark II detected and reported E. coli contamination in 41 minutes.

And the researchers credit Cornelia Kreplin, AI's executive director of sustainable production/food innovation, for bringing together a multidisciplinary team to create this made-in-Alberta innovation.

"She knew all of our various expertise and strengths and encouraged us to work together. Otherwise, I wouldn't have applied to the call for proposals because I certainly don't have the expertise to develop a new detection system," explained Lynn McMullen, a U of A food microbiologist and co-author of the study.

"This work is an important step in food safety, and in how an idea is generated to solve a problem," said Kreplin. "We understand that in today's marketplace, the key is to accelerate the timeline from an idea to a product. Bringing researchers from different disciplines together to solve problems is essential to that objective."

Learn more in this University of Alberta Folio story.